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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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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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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