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Perth Device Lab

The Perth Device Lab is now open

10 February 2016

We’re excited to welcome you to the Perth Device Lab!

Open to the community, it’s a free space for you to come in and test your digital products on a growing range of mobile devices, simulators, and virtual machines.

The Perth Device Lab

A Device Lab, you say?

Open Device Labs are a grassroots community movement, establishing a shared pool of devices for web and app developers. We trace it back to a 2012 blog post from UK webdev, Jeremy Keith, inviting the world to “pop around, use our WiFi, and test on our devices”. His idea snowballed.

Now there are over 150 Open Device Labs across 34 countries with 4310 odd devices accessible to developers. The idea? To provide physical testing environments on real devices to help make better web experiences for everyone.

But, why?

This year we’re putting more focus on community and open source projects. We had a bunch of devices floating around and a bit of spare office space, so one of our Humaans suggested starting an Open Device Lab. We were sold; it just felt right.

It gave us an opportunity to formalise and expand our testing environment, making it easier to experience our own sites the way our users would. At the same time, we found a chance to create and share a resource with you, the local web community. Our doors are now open to you.

The Perth Device Lab mural

Our Lab

At the heart of our setup is a Mac (The Mainframe) running Ghostlab, a piece of software that lets you simultaneously test any website across various browsers and mobile devices, live-syncing your interactions as you browse. It’s pretty neat.

We currently have 13 devices, many of which can run Ghostlab. They’re also connected to Wi-Fi.

The Mainframe comes equipped with popular versions of all the contemporary browsers as well as virtual machines running Windows operating systems to provide Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11, and Edge, along with Windows Chrome and Windows Firefox. Where possible, we’ve set up the email clients and virtual machines so you can test your HTML email.

To minimise our energy consumption, both the Mainframe and power supply automatically power down each night.

There’s extra desk space and a dedicated Wi-Fi network, so you can stay connected while in the lab. We also offer a small library of responsive web design books (and some classics too); a record player with a rotating selection of vinyl for you to enjoy; and a great view of William Street. You may as well be comfortable while you work!

(Thank you Matthew Wong for the murals!)

 

We need your help!

Now that the lab is open we want you to visit, put the lab through it’s paces on a project of yours and help us fine-tune the current setup so please feel free to make a booking. We’d also also love to hear your suggestions for improvements!

To date, us Humaans have scrounged around and gathered up the 13 devices ourselves. It’s a good start, but we need your help develop this community space! We’re looking for donations of unused devices, Micro-USB and Apple device cables, texts on relevant topics, LEGO (yes, seriously!), and even financial donations if that’s your thing. We welcome anything you think might contribute to this being a valuable space for Perth web and app folk, so get in touch.

Check out the device lab at perthdevicelab.com and follow us on Twitter @perthdevicelab.

Oh, and spread the word!

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