Opera debuts Web developer tool for smartphones and PCs

Dragonfly allows developers to make changes on the fly in Opera's browsers

Opera Software has released Dragonfly, a development and debugging tool integrated into its browsers, the company said on Thursday.

The tool is platform agnostic and works with both Opera Mobile for smartphones and tablets and the desktop versions of its browser.

The Norwegian company recommends using the latest version of the browser, but all versions from Opera 9.5 are supported. Users of the iPhone and the iPad are out of luck, because Opera Mobile isn't available for Apple's smartphone, and Dragonfly is incompatible with Opera Mini. But owners of Mac desktops or laptops are welcome.

With Dragonfly developers can examine font and style changes live, and debug Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) or Java scripts. Color-picking tools allow users to match colors, and then save them in a palette for later use.

Dragonfly also allows developers to keep an eye on network loads, resources and storage. It shows users how items load, how cookies and HTML5 Web Storage operate, and how different resources, including images and videos, affect site performance and compatibility.

To start using Dragonfly, users right-click on the Web page and select "Inspect Element", and then they are up and running, according to Opera.

By default Opera Dragonfly is placed at the bottom of the browser window. However, for developers with a second or larger monitor, there is a also a detached mode, which allows the code to be placed elsewhere on the screen, or moved to the other monitor, Opera said.

Dragonfly is what Opera calls a hybrid web application, which means the user never has to update it; the latest version is always pulled from the Web, according to the company. Also, the tool will always be compatible with the version of Opera used, it said.

Opera isn't the only browser that offers integrated developer tools. Other options include Firebug for Firefox and Developer Tools for Google's Chrome browser.

For developers who want to learn more about Dragonfly, Opera has published a Field Guide on its website.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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