I read on John Nack’s blog that Adobe has released a new tool to Labs called Adobe Shadow. Shadow is a tool that lets you pair multiple mobile devices, both Android and iOS, with your web browser. While paired, the mobile device will render the web page that is displayed within your browser (just Chrome I believe at this point). You can pair as many devices as you want and communication is completely wireless. You can even remotely tinker with the HTML and CSS being pushed to an individual device in real time, very cool.
So why would you want a tool like this? If you’ve ever worked with HTML you know that every browser interprets the HTML specification differently and each browser has varying degrees of support for some of the more recent standards. If you’re going to get serious about creating an HTML based mobile app, you need to test the app on real devices. I imagine this can get very tedious when you’re targeting multiple mobile platforms and multiple form factors (tablet and phone). Shadow aims to ease some of that pain by enabling you to instantly preview how your changes will look on the actual devices you’re targeting.
Remember when Firebug came out? That one tool revolutionized how I did web design and development. Instead of spending hours fiddling with CSS code, I could tweak a few things right in the browser and immediately see the results. I could select an element from within the DOM and see exactly where it’s boundaries were and how the margin and padding were working out. It seems like Shadow could fill a similar niche providing immediate visual feedback on the changes you’re making. Definitely worth checking out.
For the longest time the only Reddit browser worth having on Android was Reddit is Fun. The rest were buggy or lacked features. Reddit is Fun has reigned supreme for quite some time now, but it looks like there are a couple new kids on the block: BaconReader and Reddionic. Let’s take a look at how they compare.
Reddit is Fun
Reddit is Fun has a simple and straightforward interface. It supports browsing sub-reddits, sorting by what’s hot, new, etc, and posting new links. It’s a single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs. Ok, so I stole that line from The Matrix, but like the goop they eat in the movie Reddit is Fun is just bland and flavorless.
BaconReader has a very nice interface. They’ve done a great job of making the interface easy to read. The navigation works really well and I like how you can select the sub-reddit and sort at the top. Lots of polish on this interface. The only negative is that the free version is ad supported .
This app is in beta, but you can still download it from the Android Market. The interface is clean and has a nice modern design. The app allows you to swipe left/right to select different sub-reddits which is cool, but I actually prefer the selector in BaconReader since I can jump to a particular sub-reddit quicker. Reddionic also has an interesting preview window that pops up if you select the thumbnail next to the post. It looks nice, but on my tiny cell phone screen I’d prefer that it just jump to the actual item so that I can see it full screen. I think they are adding that as an option since I see it mentioned in the settings.
Of the three I prefer BaconReader. However, Reddionic is still in beta and looks really nice as well. If they leave the ads out, I’ll probably end up using Reddionic.