Vysor is advertised as an easy way to bring your Android phone onto your desktop, but just how useful is this for an Android developer? This article will break down every step to get Vysor working on your device and will cover its most useful features for an Android developer.
How to Setup Vysor
Before you can use Vysor there are a few basic steps to get it working on your computer and device:
1) The first step is to install the Vysor application on your Android device(s).
2) You then need to enable “USB debugging” in the developers options section of the phone. If you don’t see a developers options section from your settings app then you first need to enable developer mode.
3) Next you need to install the Vysor chrome plugin. Be careful that you are signed into chrome with the account that you wish to be connected to Vysor, as it uses the signed in chrome account for it’s account binding.
4) Plug in your Android device with a USB cable. Your device should show an “Allow USB debugging” popup that you need to click OK on. Once that is done you should see the Vysor window open on your computer.
Great, so now you are setup and ready to use Vysor to control your device. Let’s learn what we can do with it!
The Basics of Using Vysor
Vysor is built to allow developers to debug on real devices, but to also add the advantages that come with using an emulator. It allows you to work more efficiently than using either the emulator or real device by combining the best of both worlds.
When you connect your device to your computer it will show up on your screen and allow you to interact with it using your keyboard and mouse. This allows you to greatly speed up your typing speed and to work faster. As an added bonus, Vysor allows you to respond to incoming text messages throughout the day with a real keyboard as well.
The application does not have a ton of settings, and most are locked without purchasing the paid plan:
Having your code running right next to your code editor is very convenient. You no longer need to keep looking away from your monitor to see what the app you are debugging is doing.
Another very useful feature of having a real device in a window on your computer, is the ability to demo the application for others. If you do a screen share with Google Hangouts, or any other application, then you can share your Android device screen to your colleagues.
Advanced Use for Android Developers
The free version of Vysor is great if all you plan to do is bring your Android device onto your computer screen, while it is plugged into that same computer. But, if you upgrade to the paid version, then there are many more features to take advantage of.
The main window in Vysor will show you any Android devices that are currently available. The top section shows local devices that are plugged into your computer. You can also plug in a device and then enable wireless mode. These devices work as you would expect within Android Studio.
The next set of devices is a test device farm that contains two different remote Android devices. You can add as many remote devices as you like (more on this later). To use a remote device just click “Connect” and the device window will open on your desktop. The most interesting feature of Vysor is that once connected to this remote device, it will show up in Android Studio as if it was plugged in. That means you can just pick it as your active device, deploy to it, and debug it completely remotely.
This remote debugging capability opens up a lot of possibilities.
- If you need help from another developer you can grant them access to the device remotely. They can then debug the code to help spot the issue.
- You can hand off new functionality to QA for review and get feedback quicker.
- If it’s time for your designer to review the application, you can just send them a link and let them run the app right from their desktop. This makes comparing the application to their wireframes much faster than trying to take screen shots from the device to compare against.
Sharing Your Device(s) Remotely
So far we have showed you how to connect to existing remote devices that are hosted with Vysor. But how do we setup sharing our device(s) to someone else? The simplest way to share a single device is just clicking the share button next to your local device.
How to share a collection of devices:
- Plug multiple devices (each with Vysor installed) into a computer
- In Vysor settings tick “Share All Devices”
- Get your share link under “Vysor is sharing your devices: <LINK>”
- Send that link to whomever you want to share the set of devices with
- When someone attempts to connect to your device server you will get a popup to grant them access permissions
Vysor is a very useful tool for a individual developers as well as team environments. Individuals benefit by having a real device connected in a window on their machine that they can interact with using a mouse or keyboard.
In a team environment, Vysor can be used to share a single device to a colleague to get help with design, debugging, or QA. Or you can easily create a device farm and share it with everyone on your team. One of the best features is that remote employees will also have access to this device farm.
How is your team using Vysor? Have you setup your own device farm? Leave your comments below.