Developers have many ways to browser-test a website. There’s nothing like having a bunch of versions of various browsers installed on your computer to use as you need them, but when it comes to testing tablets and mobile devices, it can be painful.
With the beta version of Adobe Shadow, you tether as many devices as you have to a computer and then push out the web content you want to test to all of them. When you load up a website on that main computer, the same page is automatically loaded on every tethered device. As you edit the code and refresh the page, all the devices refresh together, instantly previewing your progress as you work. By viewing all the devices all at once, you can see how changes to fix something on one device impacts the others.
The tool also allows for remote code inspection. Just like Firebug or Chrome’s debugging tools, you can inspect the code being applied on the device and see the applied styles. That’s priceless.
… its usefulness is nevertheless directly related to the number of iOS and Android devices you have on hand. Obviously those that will benefit most from Shadow are large web development shops with the budget to invest in dozens of mobile devices. Shadow is no less handy for individual developers with only one or two devices, though the results are of course limited.
A piece of software that goes nicely with Shadow is xScope. This handy little app will let you mirror a part of your computer screen to a device running the app. Let’s say you’re designing an iPad-specific layout in Photoshop. xScope lets you preview the part of your screen with the design in realtime on the device. So Shadow has the development aspect covered, and xScope can help you out when it’s design time.