Your testing a Web site layout, look and feel. Looks great on the desktop, but will mobile users be viewing the page too? How does it look on a iPhone? A iPad? Or even an Android? Normally, this would mean you haul all of these devices out and independently step through the site. Image, if you could move around the site on one device and all your other devices moved along without being touched, in the view they will use!
One of the team stumbled upon a project Adobe Labs is working on and gave it a try. Although we would call it beta, the Adobe Shadow software worked very nicely. The last update shows March 2011 so we assume we are about to see a robust version of the software in a near future Desktop Web Site developer software package.
The software needs to be loaded on all of the devices. There is a desktop (Mac and Windows 7) version, a iOS version and a Android version. After installing each, you connect the devices through your wifi network back to your desktop. Viewing a Web site on the desktop will cause the devices to view the same site, basically Shadowing the actions. Tap a link on the page running on the desktop and it is as if you tapped the button on your iPhone/iPad’s view of the site. They follow along. If there is a mobile version of the site, the devices will show that, while the desktop will show it’s version.
There is even a Web Inspector built in. It appears to be Weinre, but we could have that wrong. It was just nice to have the power of an inspector handy if we didn’t like how something looked as we tapped through the sites.
One item to note, the devices are shadowing the desktop. This means that if you pick up your iPad and start tapping on the site’s buttons, you will move about the site your viewing but it will be out of sync with the desktop. No long term harm, you just need to be mindful of that and have the desktop tell everything where to start Shadowing again.
Pair the Adobe Shadow with the iPad’s HTML editor (Full HTML page creating and editing with FTP upload all on the iPad – yes, there is an app for that!) and you have quite the mobile Web site kit.