Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remote Debugging Options for Mobile Developers

Mobile debugging is hardly proving successful on desktop tools, as simulation of mobile user experiences and its related problems are not possible with desktop screen as well as its pointing devices. Therefore, remote debugging with real mobile devices offers the best-fit debugging solutions.

Remote Debugging in Mobile
For mobile app developers, designing and programming user experiences are challenging tasks at each stage of development. As, real UX is only possible with real devices our attempts to simulate or emulate UX on our desktop or laptop machines is a futile exercise.

Role of Simulators & Emulators
However, practically testing our iOS or Android applications on each real device is not a feasible option at all because of cost, availability of devices, and time spend on testing. Therefore, most of mobile application developers are using in-built simulators provided in SDK of the respective OS platform. For instance, Apple offers official simulators in its Xcode and you can easily use them on your Mac machine. You can test iPhone and iPad screens with their hardware version and iOS version variations. 

Similarly, Android provides emulators for Android devices through ADT tools in Eclipse and in Android SDK. You can create Android Virtual Device (AVD) for the choice of your real Android device to test and can beat the huge fragmentation related issues on the Android platform. For rest of other mobile platforms, you have to rely on their official simulators or emulators such as BlackBerry Simulators, Windows Phone Emulators, Opera Mini Emulators, etc. 

Unfortunately, these desktop based simulators and emulators are only providing limited help in debugging the mobile issues, as they never allow us to physically tap or touch the screen with our big or small fingers or thumbs. They never allow us to rotate or flip the devices to see accelerometer effects in real life. These are some real problems for real UX, which can only be addressed through real mobile devices.

Role of Remote Testing
It is true that Apple is releasing new set of iOS devices each year along with new version of iOS. At other hand, Android is infamous for its hardware and software fragmentation due to myriad of device manufacturers and backward version of Android OS in use in the market. Thus, one thing is obvious neither any individual developer nor any company can afford to buy such heap of devices with big budget. In due course, remote testing labs are offering remote testing services at affordable rates, which are either a community with a pool of devices or through a pool of some manufacturing companies. 

For instance, Samsung’s Remote Test Lab enables you to test variety of Samsung devices using web-based interface to interact with real physical devices and get feedback through remote monitoring software or screen cast sent back to your machine. Keynote Mobile Testing and Open Device Lab are other options to use for remote testing.

Remote Debugging
If you do not want to use remote testing lab option, for many minor and real-time issues are arising frequently, during your course of mobile app development, you have another option to connect your real mobile devices with your development machines using USB like cable connector or Bluetooth like wireless connection. Thus, you will inspect your source code in-action on the real mobile device on your development machine and correct them immediately. 

For iOS devices, Apple has introduced Web Inspector tool in Safari for devices that corresponds with desktop Safari browser and let you perform your debugging tasks easily and in cheap ways. There are wide ranges of developer tools in Web Inspector of Safari that enable you to tap even DOM elements on your mobile devices and access DOM information on your desktop.

Similarly, for Android Google has introduced powerful Chrome Developer Tools in its Chrome browsers of mobile as well as desktops. Thus, you can leverage tons of debugging tools like DOM inspector, Network panel for external resources, Source panel for JavaScript inspection as well as to set breakpoints, and JavaScript console for entire set of JavaScript related debugging.

Unfortunately, not all mobile application developers are accustomed with such remote debugging tools for real world mobile user experiences issues. Thus, they can’t address excellent user experiences in their mobile app development projects. Fortunately, Lujayn has updated team of mobile developers who can address your UX related issues beautifully with cost-effective ways.

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