Sorry for the delay in responding to this. I'd forwarded it on to our product manager to respond, but he's currently on vacation.
Until he gets back, I can tell you that yes, we are exploring ways we can offer this sort of support, either through BrowserLab itself or through other kinds of tooling. Bruce should be able to give you a better response when he returns, but until then, let me ask you (and any others interested in this), some questions about what you'd like to see.
- Would emulation (i.e. presenting screenshots in the desired screen size in a webkit browser) be sufficient for your needs? That would help find some layout issues, but likely would miss some quirks in individual browsers/devices.
- Are static screenshots of page "states" good enough, or do you need to be able to test animations/transitions? If not, what would be sufficient?
- Do you need the capability to do interactive testing (i.e. being able to live "click" and interact with the page running on the mobile device)?
- How important is it that we offer a complete array of all the latest devices?
Please give us an idea of which of those things are absolutely necessary, which would be really nice to have, and which just sound cool, but you can live without. The more people we get answering these questions, the more it helps us understand what everyone's needs are.
Thanks Mark, all good questions.
From my perspective, while it would be great to have a means to test navigation, animation, multi-touch gestures etc., the best first step would be the static screenshots. This would serve developers and designers alike in enabling them to at least see if content is displaying as intended.
As for device coverage, I'm more concerned with screen size and browser/os than anything else, so perhaps a menu to select 'android' or 'ios' at 320 x 480. The device itself doesn't matter as much other than input method (touch, trackball, etc.). That should limit the variables a good deal.
My two cents at least.
Thanks for responding.
I’ll second mnmlistmktg’s opinion, content display is most important. I would think just the top three or four devices would do. I can’t imagine anyone objecting to any bells and whistles you could add, though.
My one cent.
Here's another vote for mobile emulation.I would like to see iOS, Android and Blackberry support for their native resolutions. And iPad and other tablets as well. Also, a little button that will allow you to change your screen orientation from Portrait to Landscape and back again, like to simulate if you're holding your iPhone vertical or horizontal. or just show both views side by side, but that wouldn't work as good for tablets with their higher resolutions...Maybe to start with it might be as easy as just using your latest Safari or Chrome emulator and just shrinking the viewable window size down to 320x480.
Shadow is pretty cool, but it's very different from Browserlab. With Shadow I need to have all the devices physically. I'd still like to have mobile versions included in Browser lab.
Copying and pasting my answer to a similar question on a different thread:
Understood. However when we looked into providing that sort of support in BrowserLab we thought of a few different ways to do it. Using the actual devices would have been too expensive, using emulators/simulators would not have been as realistic as using the actual devices. It was this research and thought process that led to us developing Shadow. So adding mobile capabilities to BrowserLab is very unlikely to happen. We are however, investigating ways we could integrate the two tools to make for a better overall workflow.
Hope this helps,