Mobile web development is lots more demanding than classical desktop design, because it extends the stage to screen sizes you usually do not have at hand while developing. Of course you might be able to do proper testing on target devices, but doing so on every step of the way would blow up the efforts unbearably. Glimpse, a Chrome extension, does especially come in handy in those frequently occurring cases where you just tweaked that tiny bit and want to see if it totally breaks things or not.
Glimpse, Made by the Readability Crew
The guys behind Glimpse are no newbies. Arc90 are the creators of Readability, which you definitely will have heard of, unless you lived under a stone for the last few years. In their hackathons they go for new and exciting ideas, Glimpse resulted from their last effort.
What Glimpse does is simple. Once installed, it sits above your browser window, right beside the address bar. If you decide to click it, a tiny browser window, size of an iPhone, opens as a pop-over. It does not automatically populate with the content of the website you were currently surfing. Instead it acts as an independent browser instance.
Once clicked, you have to enter the url to be displayed into Glimpse’s url bar. The chosen url will then be called and automatically correctly displayed according to its media queries, if any.
As Glimpse, at least at this moment, is fixed to the display of an iPhone size, it does not make for a complete solution. Yet, if you just need a quick check, there are not a lot of faster tools out there.
Glimpse lets you save frequently visited mobile sites right inside its window. It is not only targeted at web developers. Arc90 thinks that consumers in some cases prefer the mobile view of a particular website also. If you feel addressed, try it.
Glimpse has its issues. It does not function correctly if used on some of the more popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook and the like. Yet, as a tool for quickly checking your latest creation, it makes for an extension you should not go without.
Dieter Petereit is a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called web design and has carried on ever since. Two decades ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. You can meet him over on Google+.