Adobe Shadow is now Adobe Edge Inspect

In a major move on the 24th of September, Adobe has renamed Shadow to Adobe Edge Inspect and now it has become a part of the Adobe Edge Tools and Services : http://html.adobe.com/edge/
Shadow had been a great success for mobile web developers and designers to remotely debug applications on the mobile device in real time. I had been using the preview version of Shadow for quite a time and has found it really useful, the last one being the Shadow Labs Release 4. So now the preview period of Shadow is ending on the 31st of October and after that Shadow will be invalid. Instead you have to download Edge Inspect and start using it.
You can get Edge Inspect by signing up for a free Creative Cloud membership subscription or a paid subscription. Get a account for yourself at: https://creative.adobe.com/join/starter. The free version allows only one device to be paired with your computer while the paid full version allows multiple devices to be paired simultaneously with your computer. Here’s a video demonstration on the new Edge Inspect release

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WEINRE – Web Inspector Remote Video by Patrick Mueller

Patrick Mueller is the man behind the Weinre tool – remotely inspect and debug mobile web applications. Here is a video of him talking about Weinre at PhoneGap Day US 2012.

If you would like to know more about Weinre and how to debug mobile web applications I have a few post on it. You can start from here.

And if you do not like setting up Weinre and working with servers you can have a look at Adobe Shadow which is a tool developed by Adobe on top of Weinre, functions similarly but you do not have to set up the dirty part. You can start from here.

Use your own Weinre server with Adobe Shadow – Step by step

Now that Adobe has released version 4 of Shadow they have included a very nice feature of adding or using your own Weinre debug server with Shadow. What it does is that it fastens up the connection time and reduces the wait time when you are using the default Weinre debug server that Adobe has hosted on their servers. So if you have a local instance of the Weinre server running in your computer, you can use that as a debug server for Adobe Shadow instead of using the remote debug server hosted by Adobe at http://debug.shadow.adobe.com:8080/. So let’s see how to do it.

First of all you will need to have the Weinre server set up in your computer. For that you will need the weinre jar file and Java installed in your computer. I have a full detailed tutorial on setting up and using Weinre in one of my earlier post. So please have a look at it and set up the server. You can check out the “Configuring and running the Weinre debug server” section in the postAssuming that you have the server set it up on your computer, then you need to start it. You can check my previous post for that too. Its all there.

Then you can verify if the server has started. Open your browser and navigate to http://<yourip&gt;:port where <yourip> is your machine’s ip address and port is the port number where the Weinre debug server listens to. You can find out the port and the details from the command prompt after you have run the server. The screenshot below shows my instance,


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Adobe Shadow – another way of remote debugging mobile web apps in iOS and Android

Logo used from Adobe Labs site

Adobe has come out with the preview version of their new tool Adobe Shadow that allows front-end web developers and designers to work faster and more efficiently by streamlining the preview process, making it easier to customize websites for mobile devices. With shadow you can remotely preview your mobile web projects and also debug them. In fact Shadow uses the WEINRE debug/web inspector client to allow developers to remotely inspect HTML , view console logs and also make changes to the DOM. In the last post I have talked about WEINRE in details. You can refer it if you are new to WEINRE.

Shadow allows multiple devices (mobile devices) to connect wirelessly to your computer and as you browse in your computer all the target mobile devices will be in sync. So when you make changes to the HTML DOM in the computer you can see the changes instantly on all the target devices.

You need three things to configure Shadow and get started,

1) Shadow helper application. Install this in your computer. Shadow is not available for Windows XP so you need a Windows 7 machine or a Mac (OS X 10.6 and 10.7) machine. This helper application must keep running at the time of a debug session that you will carry.

2) Google Chrome browser extension for shadow. You need to install the extension. You will get the link to this in the downloads page below.

3) Shadow client app for iOS or Android. Whichever mobile device you have, go to the app market and search for Adobe Shadow, find it and then install it. For example go to Apple App Store and get the Shadow app and install it.

You can find all the downloads in the Adobe Labs site : http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/shadow.html

You can also find a very nice video demonstration to get started : http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-technology-sneaks-2012/adobe-shadow.

Personally, after trying both Adobe Shadow and Weinre, I found Shadow easier to configure and get started with debugging mobile web applications remotely. For Weinre you have to install Java separately, use command line instructions and also inject javascript into the client code. This at times is a hassle and confusing for first timers.

This post was just a kind of teaser for you and in case you have not heard about Adobe Shadow you can give it a try. I also look forward to come out with a detailed tutorial on how to use Shadow with screenshots of my instance. Till then I am continuing to explore Shadow and similar tools.

Below are some of my previous tutorials that should help you.

  1. Debugging mobile web applications remotely with Weinrehttps://jbkflex.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/debug-mobile-web-applications-remotely-with-weinre/
  2. Use your own Weinre server with Adobe Shadow – Step by stephttps://jbkflex.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/use-your-own-weinre-server-with-adobe-shadow-step-by-step/
  3. WEINRE – Web Inspector Remote Video by Patrick Muellerhttps://jbkflex.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/weinre-web-inspector-remote-video-by-patrick-mueller/

Update
1) Now that Adobe has released version 4 of Shadow they have included a very nice feature of adding or using your own Weinre debug server with Shadow. What it does is that it fastens up the connection time, performance and keeps the remote traffic local. So if you have a local instance of the Weinre server running in your computer, you can use that as a debug server for Adobe Shadow instead of using the remote debug server hosted by Adobe at http://debug.shadow.adobe.com:8080/. Read how to do it here.

2) Adobe Shadow is now Adobe Edge Inspect: Read the post and find out what changes has been made : https://jbkflex.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/adobe-shadow-is-now-adobe-edge-inspect/

Debugging mobile web applications remotely with WEINRE

I started mobile web development around eight months back and at times found it very difficult to debug my apps. Normally everybody would start off with a desktop browser, look up the app in a desktop web inspector and then try to debug it and finally make it ready for the mobile browser. Even I used to do the same. I used to check my mobile app in Chrome’s/Safari’s developer tools. There I used to inspect HTML elements, change DOM style properties and check the result out and also see the java script console log messages in the console tab. This would normally serve my purpose but I had to adjust a lot due to resolution differences. Still there was a frustration and a feeling of had there been a tool to directly debug the app in the mobile device itself. And after a little head scratching and Googling I discovered an open source package called Weinre – Web Inspector Remote. With Weinre I could debug my mobile web app remotely – the app would run on the mobile browser and I could modify the DOM remotely, see log messages of it on the Weinre inspector that runs on my computer. And I must tell you, it has helped me immensely. It’s a wonderful tool to have and in this tutorial I will share my experiences of debugging with Weinre. First I will start off with How to configure Weinre and then talk on debugging a mobile web app, but before that let’s see some basics – Weinre and its components.

The Basics
Weinre is a remote debugger for web pages and if you are familiar with Firefox’s Firebug or Google Chrome’s Web Inspector, then you will find Weinre very similar. What it means is that you can debug a web app that is running on your mobile device remotely i.e on your computer. So, in your computer you can select any DOM node, make changes to style properties of the mobile web app and it will reflect in the mobile device on the fly. You will get more familiar with the things once I talk in details later in the article. First let’s see what Weinre is composed of.
Weinre consists of three basic components/programs – Debug Server, Debug Client and Debug Target interacting with each other. Let’s see what each of them means,

1. Debug Server: This is the HTTP server that you run from the weinre.jar file. It’s the HTTP server that’s used by the Debug Client and Debug Target. I configured the server on a Windows machine so all the steps I will talk about are in reference to Windows. For Mac users details of configuration can be found in the Weinre site.

2. Debug Client: This is the Web Inspector user interface; the web page which displays the Elements and Console panels, for instance.

3. Debug Target: This is your web page that you want to debug running on the mobile device – iPhone, Android phone or iPads.

Both the Debug Client and the Debug Target communicate to the Debug Server via HTTP using XMLHttpRequest (XHR). Typically, you run both the Debug Client and the Debug Server on your desktop/laptop, and the Debug Target on your mobile device. The image below should help you.

Click for larger size
Weinre components

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