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Debug iOS Applications with Reveal

by Ralph Winzinger on Jul 12, 2013 |

Debug iOS Applications with Reveal

Itty Bitty Apps released Reveal, a utility to debug and modify iOS applications during runtime. Reveal connects to an application and lets developers edit various user interface parameters which is in turn instantly reflected by the application's UI. Just like debugging HTML pages with FireBug, debugging and modifying iOS user interface can be done without rewriting code or rebuilding and redeploying the application.

Reveal is a Mac OS application and available for download as public beta free of charge. To debug an iOS application, a developer links the app with Reveal's framework, which is included in the installation. Reveal scans its network for instrumented applications and lets the developer choose to connect to one of them. When connected to an app, Reveal shows the app's UI including a great number of parameters and settings. The developer can now inspect the UI or change settings until the user interface looks and behaves as desired. Currently, there is no support for layout constraints, but according to Reveal's support, it is planned for future releases. Reveal can be used with the iOS simulator as well as with applications running on real devices. Installation is done within a few minutes.

Besides introspecting UI parameters, Reveal also shows complex UI hierarchies in a exploded 3D view. Developers can easily check the layering of UI components and select specific elements in the hierarchy. To further simply debugging, one can also concentrate on parts of the UI only and blind out the rest of the user interface.

Itty Bitty Apps is a company that develops mobile applications for its customers, based in Melbourne, Australia. Reveal started as an internal development tool and now became a product itself.

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