I've been doing a lot of device testing recently due to being involved in quite a few responsive builds. Earlier this week, courtesy of my colleague Rick, I stumbled across a very handy service by the guys over at 37signals called xip.io.
Xip.io lets you access any virtualhost you have setup locally on your computer from any device on your local network; the extra bonus is it's mega easy to use. Once setup, it simply gives you a domain to point your devices to and as if by magic, your local site is then viewable from any device you have to hand. Xip.io has been around for a little while, so you may have already heard of it, but if not I would definitely recommend checking it out.
To set it up, you'll simply need to know your current IP address, your virtualhost address and some very basic knowledge of editing your local server config. As an example, if you have setup a virtualhost called mysite.local, your IP is 10.0.0.1 and you are using Apache for your local server, then you need to add the following to your httpd.conf file inside the related
If you happen to be using MAMP Pro, it's even easier. Simply add it to the related hosts 'Customised virtual host general settings', which can be found under the 'Advanced' tab, right at the bottom (on v126.96.36.199).
After restarting your local server, the following address will then let you view your local site on your device - of course exchanging your own virtualhost address and IP in place of the examples below:
For those shouting at their screens 'This is already what Adobe Edge Inspect gives you!', indeed it is, but only for one paired device if you have a free creative cloud membership. Setting up xip.io is also much easier in my opinion.
The other tool I've come across is Opera's Mobile Emulator. Although emulation can never be as good as the real thing, we don't all have every phone since 2004 sitting on our desks. This emulator goes some way to help fill in any gaps you might have and device testing your site with an emulator is better than not device testing it at all.
Opera's Mobile Emulator comes packed with a whole bunch of devices, including a variety of HTC, Samsung and Sony Phones and Tablets, as well as the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7. The great thing about the emulator is that it sets the pixel density and resolution when choosing each device - very handy for comparing your site between high quality HD and less capable alternatives. It can also be hooked up to Opera Dragonfly so that you can debug straight into the emulator.
I'd love to know what other tools people are currently using for local device testing, so please do let me know either through the comments or on Twitter.
Article posted on the 11th January 2013