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Opera Mobile Now Has Desktop Testing

· Mobile Zone
Opera has been on a hot streak lately with their recent release of Opera 10.5, which beat Chrome in performance on certain benchmarks, and the approval of Opera Mini for the iPhone app store, which made it to the top of the download list for many countries.  This week, Opera introduces a time and money-saving tool for web developers - the Opera Mobile Emulator for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops (free download).  Along with the emulator, developers can also harness Opera's Dragonfly debugging tool and the Opera Mobile Widgets Emulator.

In November, Daniel Davis demonstrated how to remotely debug a mobile web page on your phone using Opera Dragonfly on the desktop.  The only difference for the emulator is that you don't need a phone.  Opera Dragonfly is analogous to Firefox's Firebug add-on.  It contains a full suite of tools including DOM, CSS and Network Inspectors, plus a JavaScript Debugger, Error Console, and Command Line.  The Opera Mobile Emulator paired with Opera Dragonfly provides and efficient and effective testing environment for testing websites on in a virtual mobile environment.

Opera Dragonfly and Opera Mobile Emulator


Credit: Opera

The Opera Mobile Widgets Emulator is also included so developers can easily develop mobile Opera Widgets right on their desktop without having to buy a phone for testing purposes.  Opera's previous widget emulator did not let developers install widgets directly from their own machines, but this current one does.  The Opera Mobile Widgets Emulator is also available as a separate download

Opera Mobile Widgets Emulator

Credit: Opera

The Opera Mobile Emulator covers testing for all of input methods on a mobile device.  By starting the application from the command-line with various configuration options, the emulator's size and input mode can be modified.  Another welcome productivity feature is the ability to run multiple instances of the emulator.  This can help a developer, for example, test a web page for different mobile screen dimensions, orientations, and input modes at the same time.


Credit: Opera

In touch mode, the mouse represents your finger and the emulator will simulate a touch screen based on your mouse actions.  Clicking and dragging simulates gestures on a touchscreen device.  There are also controls to simulate device rotation and multitouch.  The emulator has all of the features found in Opera Mobile 10, which means that developers can test bookmark synching and Opera Turbo - Opera's compression proxy for faster pages during low bandwidth.

One unique feature in the emulator (desktop) version of Opera Mobile is the ability to modify this in the User Agent settings dialog to mimic various versions of the Opera Mobile browser.  These examples below show the settings modifications you would use for (in order from top to bottom) the Nokia/S60, Windows Mobile, and Android versions of the browser:
Opera/9.80 (S60; SymbOS; Opera Mobi/[BUILD_NR]; U; en-GB) Presto/2.4.18 Version/10.00
Opera/9.80 (Windows Mobile; WCE; Opera Mobi/[BUILD_NR]; U; en) Presto/2.4.18 Version/10.00
Opera/9.80 (Android; Linux; Opera Mobi/[BUILD_NR]; U; en) Presto/2.4.18 Version/10.00
You can learn more about the Opera Mobile emulator here.
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