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.

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CSS3 Coverflow animation for iOS – Adding Touch gestures

Here’s a sneak peak at the touch version of the Coverflow animation. The app is fully touch enabled, you can swipe across the screen to move the images or tap on any image individually to move it. The app works fine in iPhones, iPod touch and iPad’s. Have not tested it in Android 4.0 or greater. Since iOS browsers supports CSS3 3D transformations so it runs very smooth. In Androids < 4.0  it gives a horrible  look n feel.

Here’s the link to the demo. Check in an iOS device (open up in mobile safari),

Link: http://rialab.jbk404.site50.net/coverflowtouch/

and if you are looking for a desktop version of the Coverflow, you can check my previous post.

This is how it looks on an iPod touch

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360 degree car rotation – common code for mobiles and computer browsers

I had been updating my examples and tutorials off  lately and trying to create a more general approach to application development – Write a single app that runs in mobile browsers as well as computer browsers. Following the same approach, this time I am updating one of my previous tutorials – 360 Degree Car/Product rotation for iPhones. So, I worked on a 36o degree car rotation code that runs in both mobile and desktop browsers.

This tutorial is an update to my previous one, I also present a new demo. I will not go into the details, which I have talked about in my previous tutorial. Have a look at the demo, open it in either an iOS browser or a computer web-kit browser.

Link: http://jbk404.site50.net/360DegreeView/mobile/common.html

360 degree car rotation in mobile safari

What are the changes?

All the changes are in the javascript code. I have introduced a device detection mechanism and then automatically assign either touch events (for mobiles) or mouse events (for computer browsers). These are the same changes that I have recently talked of in my last post – Replicating the iPhone Swipe Gesture — common code for mobiles and computer browsers. That should help you out.

Other than that just try the example link in a computer web-kit browser – Chrome/Safari or an iOS device browser which is also a web-kit browser. Android devices need some changes and the same code might not work. I have talked on this in my previous post.

For the code, right click to view the source.

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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360 degree Car/Product view for mobile web – iPhone

I thought of writing this post due to increasing number of search queries that I found out on my site stats. A 360 degree product view for mobile web is important now as lot of manufacturers are starting to move towards mobile web apps for displaying their products.
In two of my earlier posts I have already talked about a 360 degree product view for desktop browsers with examples – post 1, post2. For the 360 degree to run on a mobile browser I had to make some adjustments – make the sprite much smaller in size, add touch gestures. The rest of the concept is same. So, in this post I will talk on how to make the 360 degree for iOS devices (iPhone,iPod and iPads).
I have already discussed about the core concept of changing the position of the background image (sprite image) with the movement of the mouse in my earlier posts. And how it detects the distance moved and the direction of movement and based on that the car is rotated. So I will not go into it once again. You can refer my earlier tutorial. I will just talk a little on the touch gestures and how to convert the already developed example (from my earlier post) so that now it listens to finger gestures on the mobile device.
Before moving further you deserve a demo, open the following link in your iOS device browser and drag your finger over the car.

Demo link: http://jbk404.site50.net/360DegreeView/mobile/

360 degree car rotation in mobile safari

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Coverflow animation using CSS3 3D Transformations – Part1

Update
1) Coverflow for iOS with touch gestures: Sneak Peak at the touch gesture enabled Coverflow for mobiles(iOS) is ready. Have a look at it here. There is a demo and download link.

Back to the actual post:
Recently I worked on the famous Coverflow animation using CSS3 3D Transformations, and I must tell you that the results were very impressive. I was actually working on a mobile web version of the Coverflow animation meant for iPhone,iPod, Ipad. Well, I am still working on it and finishing on adding touch gestures to the animation.

Disappointingly, Android device’s web-kit browser does not support CSS3 3D animations as of now so the coverflow that I am trying to build is not working on Android devices. However, I read it somewhere that the next version-Android 3.0 will have support for it. So till then I could support only iOS device’s web-kit browser.

In this post I am presenting a desktop version of the Coverflow (no touch gestures). Right now it runs only in Safari. I must tell you once again that the app I built is mainly meant for web-kit browsers (since iPhone’s and Android’s run web-kit browsers). I have the link to the demo app below,

Demo: http://jbk404.site50.net/css3/coverflow/ (See in Chrome or Safari for best results)

Click to see demo

The demo has only 7 images as of now and the code has pre-defined values in it but it is fully functional. I am working on making it more dynamic so that any number of images can be used. I am finishing up on some nuances of the app and refining the code further, and till then I am posting only the demo. I will talk about the code in details later (very soon). Also I will come up with a part2 of this tutorial series where I will talk about the mobile version with touch gestures.

For the full code you can view the source of the demo.

Here are some of the features of the desktop version of the demo,

  • Click on any image to bring it to the center.
  • Use the previous and next button to see other images.
  • Image Reflections using CSS3 reflections.
  • CSS3 3D Transforms as I have already mentioned. This gives 3D look and feel.
  • Smooth movement of images using CSS3 Transitions.
  • No third party library or plugins. I have used pure CSS3 and JavaScript.

You can use the code and build on top of that.

Android or iPhone or Blackberry – How to detect using JavaScript

Sometimes when you are writing a mobile web app it becomes important to detect the device type in which the app will run in the browser. After finding out the device type you may write specific code for each device. One example can be handling different screen resolutions for the different device types and then make changes to the UI accordingly. Here’s a rundown of a small example that will show you how to detect the device type.

Mainly you need to detect the browser’s user agent and this will give you the device type. Following are the browser’s user agent for different devices:

For Android: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/FRG83) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1.

Currently, Android devices provide the following  in the User-Agent: “Android”, a version number, a device name, a specific build, Webkit version info, and “Mobile”. The above user agent string is for Android Froyo on a Nexus .

For iOS device (iPod/iPhone,iPad): Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5

This one is for the iPod that I am using. For iPhone and iPads the string format is similar, only it will be mentioned iPhone or iPad in place of iPod. The numbers may change depending on the format.

For Blackberry: Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry AAAA; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.11+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/X.X.X.X Mobile Safari/534.11+

This one is for BlackBerry 6 and 7.

If you notice every user agent data has the device type name mentioned in it. That is what helps us to detect it. Let’s see how to do it.

Detecting user agent is very easy. Use the userAgent property of javascript’s navigator object. Below is the full java script code block,

var ua = navigator.userAgent;
var checker = {
iphone: ua.match(/(iPhone|iPod|iPad)/),
blackberry: ua.match(/BlackBerry/),
android: ua.match(/Android/)
};
if (checker.android) {
//code for Android
}
else if (checker.iphone) {
//code for iOS device
}
else if (checker. blackberry) {
//code for BlackBerry
}
else{}

Using percentage widths: auto adjust contents in a mobile web app

In my last post I talked about how to detect orientation change for a mobile web app using java script. Once you are able to detect the mode of view (portrait or landscape) you can write specific code to change the UI elements accordingly. Well, in this post I will discuss another technique to auto adjust the contents of the mobile web page as per the current orientation. Though this is not as powerful as the java script method or the CSS3 Media Query way, but still it is effective. Before staring, check out the demo application http://jbk404.site50.net/html5/mobile/percentwidth/  in your web browser and try to resize it, you will notice that the contents always auto fits to the screen width size. So, similarly it will also auto fit the mobile device’s screen width when viewed in different modes. Try opening the same URL in your smartphone.

Using percentage widhts
You might have used percent widths for your <div> element when you have declared the style in CSS. This is the same easy method that you can use to auto fit the page elements when viewed in either portrait or landscape mode in a mobile. The main goal is to auto fit the page contents with the correct amount of padding and alignment in both portrait and landscape mode. Below we have an image of a mobile web app page. You can see that the header and the contents occupy the entire screen width. Also I have a small padding applied to the content in the yellow background area. This is the portrait mode, for iPhones and iPods the dimension is 320 x 480 pixels. So the width is 320 px.

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