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Old 24-12-2014, 02:52   #1
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Touch Screens and Tablets

OpenCPN has a basic support Touch Screens and Tablets. More here
Touch Screens and Tablets | Official OpenCPN Homepage.

Impressed by the documentation?
OK neither am I, but I can't do anything about it, as I have no access to the hardware.

All you guys that have experienced with this feature needs to chip in and help out, to get this feature decently documented for the 4.0 release.

You can either edit the wiki directly or just write in this thread and I'll help out. Pictures to, please.

Thanks

Thomas
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Old 24-12-2014, 06:15   #2
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Maybe Rhythm Dr can help us. I'll it over carefully to see if I can add anything but I have no tablet experiene.

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Old 26-12-2014, 19:27   #3
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

I am working on something for the documentation page. Meanwhile, there's a comprehensive list of suggestions at Windows 8 Tablets for OpenCPN .
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Old 26-12-2014, 23:44   #4
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Here's a first cut. I hope it's not too wordy, but I think that any Windows 8 tablet needs additional software besides just OpenCPN.

Dave's description on the current page is already obsolete (see quote below), since he split the tablet customization into two separate options. I tried to capture the options at the end of my summary, but could use some verification that this is accurate:

Running OpenCPN on a Windows 8 tablet

It is no wonder that iPads and Android tablets have become so popular. They offer superior ergonomics vs. laptops in many settings, including areas with limited space and power such as boat cabins and cockpits. Tablets usually offer superior battery life, lower power consumption, and are easier to waterproof via inexpensive pouches. With the recent proliferation of Windows 8 tablets, there is now an economical and easily accessible tablet platform for OpenCPN that does not require rooting, virtualization, or other cumbersome hacks.

However, your user experience with OpenCPN on a Windows tablet will be enhanced by considering these tips and tricks.

1. Install the Classic Shell free software. This facilitates using the tablet with traditional Windows desktop programs, which will improve your OpenCPN experience on the tablet. You can still use the newer "Metro" tablet apps, but Classic Shell restores the Start menu that Windows users are accustomed to having.

2. Check Device Manager-Sensors to verify whether your tablet has a GNSS Geolocation sensor. If so, your tablet has GPS capabilities already built in. (Some tablets have been discovered to have GPS even though the specifications may not mention it.) However, the Windows 8 tablets initially are configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. In order to overcome this limiation, try installing petrsimon's excellent GeolocationTCP utility. Set this utility to launch at bootup so it's always there by putting a shortcut in the Startup folder created by Classic Shell. Then you need to configure OpenCPN to receive the NMEA data over the appropriate TCP port.

3. If you do not have an internal GPS, I recommend a Bluetooth GPS transmitter. There are Android and iPhone apps that will do this on your smartphone, or you can purchase a freestanding Bluetooth GPS made by GlobalSat or others. Transmitting GPS to the tablet via Bluetooth facilitates putting the tablet into a waterproof pouch. Plus, constantly hanging a USB connector off the side of the tablet can weaken the plug over time.

4. The excellent form factor of the tablet opens up some great possibilities for use in the cockpit, if you can find a tablet with a sufficiently bright screen. A suggested tablet model and more comprehensive list of tips can be found on this message thread.

OpenCPN runs remarkably well on a tablet with practically no modifications. Microsoft has emulated many mouse functions in their OS. The right-click context menus are emulated by tap-hold. Zooming and unzooming in OpenCPN is accomplished by pinching gesture, or using the magnifying glass icons in the toolbar.

Mouse hover (aka "rollover") is not generally supported on tablets, and accidentally tapping the chart can lead to unexpected re-centering of the chart. To address this, there are some custom features available in Options-User Interface. Activating "Enable Touchscreen Interface" alters the effect of tapping/clicking on the chart in the following ways:

-Suppresses re-centering of the chart by tapping (you need to tap-drag to pan the chart)
-Tapping waypoint selects it for subsequent dragging
-Tapping Routes and AIS targets shows popup info
-Tapping tide/current icons shows appropriate dialog

Additional behaviors with "Enable Touchscreen Interface" activated:

-Optimize several common dialogs for screen rotation, i.e. landscape or portrait
-Route Create workflow: "Done" by clicking toolbar "Route" icon, or normal context menu.
-Toolbar navigation items (e.g. Zoom/Scale) are available during route creation.
-Chart drag (a.k.a. swipe) is available during route creation.
-Routepoint/Waypoint edit by drag is supported.
-Increase pixel select radius, to allow for finger tip selection of routes/waypoints

A second option, "Enable Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface" can improve the display, especially on tablets with high pixel density. At present, Windows tablets are generally lower pixel density than Android and iPad, but this may change with future hardware. This option does the following:

-Increase toolbar icon size
-Increase context menu text item size
-Increase selectable item sizes for several common dialogs

Here's Dave's current (obsolete) documentation:
Quote:
Here are Dave's Release Notes:

242: This is a first cut on a Touchscreen/Tablet user interface. The idea here is to have one checkbox in options->Display to enable this mode, and thus avoid lots of fussy user configurable items for individual behaviors/actions. In other words, just "do the right thing" when enabled for Tablet/Touch systems.

The code was tested on an 8" Windows 8.1 tablet, in both portrait and landscape display orientations.

The changes include the following:

1. Increase toolbar icon size.
2. Increase context menu text item size.
3. Increase selectable item sizes for several common dialogs.
4. Optimize several common dialogs for screen rotation, i.e. landscape or portrait.
5. Touch stuff:
a. Route Create workflow: "Done" by clicking toolbar "Route" icon, or normal context menu.
b. Toolbar navigation items (e.g. Zoom/Scale) are available during route creation.
c. Chart drag (a.k.a. swipe) is available during route creation.
d. Routepoint/Waypoint edit by drag is supported.
e. Increase pixel select radius, to allow for finger tip selection of routes/waypoints.
f. Single-click behavior:
-Does not ever move chart.
-Selects Waypoint for subsequent dragging
-Shows popup info for Routes and AIS targets.
-Shows Tide/Current dialog.
g. Move chart by drag/swipe.
h. There is no notion of "rollover" in Touch/Tablet mode.

There are some dialogs that have not yet been adjusted for font size, so they is on the TODO list.

The UI is a bit different when using a mouse in Touch/Tablet mode, but still useable I think. This would not be a normal mode of use, unless maybe you have a Bluetooth mouse to use occasionally with your tablet.

I don't consider this Beta to be the last word on the subject of Touch interfacing. There is a lot to consider and learn here. I welcome detailed comments on this new interface mode.
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Old 28-12-2014, 21:01   #5
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Thanks for moving my tablet tips over to the documentation web page. My writeup that I posted in this thread has a number of clickable links that are important for the usefulness of documentation. Most (but not all) are missing from the version that you pasted over there. Is there a way to restore the links that I embedded in my post?

Also, please note that I was planning to supplement that writeup with some screenshots, when I'm able to get to it.
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Old 28-12-2014, 21:44   #6
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Here is my revised version with embedded images. For now I linked the images from my Photobucket site - you may want to copy them over to opencpn.org, then revise the image links for the new location. I do not have access privileges to do that on opencpn.org:

Running OpenCPN on a Windows 8 tablet

It is no wonder that iPads and Android tablets have become so popular. They offer superior ergonomics vs. laptops in many settings, including areas with limited space and power such as boat cabins and cockpits. Tablets usually offer superior battery life, lower power consumption, and are easier to waterproof via inexpensive pouches. With the recent proliferation of Windows 8 tablets, there is now an economical and easily accessible tablet platform for OpenCPN that does not require rooting, virtualization, or other cumbersome hacks.

However, your user experience with OpenCPN on a Windows tablet will be enhanced by considering these tips and tricks.

1. Install the Classic Shell free software. This facilitates using the tablet with traditional Windows desktop programs, which will improve your OpenCPN experience on the tablet. You can still use the newer "Metro" tablet apps, but Classic Shell restores the Start menu that Windows users are accustomed to having.



2. Check Device Manager-Sensors to verify whether your tablet has a GNSS Geolocation sensor. If so, your tablet has GPS capabilities already built in. (Some tablets have been discovered to have GPS even though the specifications may not mention it.)



However, the Windows 8 tablets initially are configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. In order to overcome this limiation, try installing petrsimon's excellent GeolocationTCP utility. Set this utility to launch at bootup so it's always there by putting a shortcut in the Startup folder created by Classic Shell.



Then you need to configure OpenCPN to receive the NMEA data over the appropriate TCP port.



3. If you do not have an internal GPS, I recommend a Bluetooth GPS transmitter. There are Android and iPhone apps that will do this on your smartphone, or you can purchase a freestanding Bluetooth GPS made by GlobalSat or others. Transmitting GPS to the tablet via Bluetooth facilitates putting the tablet into a waterproof pouch. Plus, constantly hanging a USB connector off the side of the tablet can weaken the plug over time.

4. The excellent form factor of the tablet opens up some great possibilities for use in the cockpit, if you can find a tablet with a sufficiently bright screen. A suggested tablet model and more comprehensive list of tips can be found on this message thread.

OpenCPN runs remarkably well on a tablet with practically no modifications. Microsoft has emulated many mouse functions in their OS. The right-click context menus are emulated by tap-hold. Zooming and unzooming in OpenCPN is accomplished by pinching gesture, or using the magnifying glass icons in the toolbar.

Mouse hover (aka "rollover") is not generally supported on tablets, and accidentally tapping the chart can lead to unexpected re-centering of the chart. To address this, there are some custom features available in Options-User Interface.



Activating "Enable Touchscreen Interface" alters the effect of tapping/clicking on the chart in the following ways:

-Suppresses re-centering of the chart by tapping (you need to tap-drag to pan the chart)
-Tapping waypoint selects it for subsequent dragging
-Tapping Routes and AIS targets shows popup info
-Tapping tide/current icons shows appropriate dialog

Additional behaviors with "Enable Touchscreen Interface" activated:

-Optimize several common dialogs for screen rotation, i.e. landscape or portrait
-Route Create workflow: "Done" by clicking toolbar "Route" icon, or normal context menu.
-Toolbar navigation items (e.g. Zoom/Scale) are available during route creation.
-Chart drag (a.k.a. swipe) is available during route creation.
-Routepoint/Waypoint edit by drag is supported.
-Increase pixel select radius, to allow for finger tip selection of routes/waypoints

A second option, "Enable Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface" can improve the display, especially on tablets with high pixel density. At present, Windows tablets are generally lower pixel density than Android and iPad, but this may change with future hardware. This option does the following:

-Increase toolbar icon size
-Increase context menu text item size
-Increase selectable item sizes for several common dialogs
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Old 28-12-2014, 23:11   #7
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Frankly... I absolutely HATE Classic shell and would offer the absolute opposite advice. The "Start menu" was never designed for a touch screen device and sucks when trying to use it from one. Windows 8.1 now has the provision for "Boot to Desktop" mode if you prefer a traditional desktop. It doesn't offer you the traditional "Start menu" but does start your tablet at the desktop with traditional icons.

I believe most people (other than the crochety hard headed) would find Windows 8.1 on a tablet to be more the suitable once they learn how to use it (a non-touchscreen laptop/desktop is different). I really encourage people to give it a try before installing a 3rd party app that takes a step back.
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:37   #8
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Everyone's perspective and observations can be useful and we understand that these observations are naturally very personnal. We try to leave room for everyone's ideas/observations here. Would you kindly explain in more detail how our tablet interface can be improved? And please understand that this software was first dev without the touch and be kind to us!

RDr - Good improvements thankyou. Can you move them to the wiki? I think Thomas might have done that before you added photos. See my note on current beta thread about regisyering. Thanks again.

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Old 29-12-2014, 07:38   #9
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Folks...

To amplify the Wiki:

re:
A second option, "Enable Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface" can improve the display......

It is important that the screen width dimension be properly set for this option to work. This may be found at Options->Display->Advanced.
I found on my W8.1 tablet that the automatically calculated size value was wrong, leading to extra large toolbar icons. Easy to correct with a physical measurement.

In the "Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface", the toolbar icon target minimum size is 9mm square. This is the generally accepted minimum button size for several mobile platforms.

Dave
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Old 29-12-2014, 08:00   #10
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Good explanation I will try to get into wiki, or perhaps RDr can do it?

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Old 29-12-2014, 08:33   #11
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Good explanation I will try to get into wiki, or perhaps RDr can do it?

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I am at work right now, so cannot put any time into this until I get home. This evening I'll figure out how to register for the wiki, then revise with Dave's suggestions.

I've never really used "Tablet Scaled Graphics" because it made the buttons way too big. It sounds like manually entering the size in the new dialog will fix that quite nicely, so I'll try it first and revise my documentation with more specific recommendations. But that all has to wait until I get home.

As for criticism of Classic Shell, I respect other opinions even if they don't agree with my own personal experience (and that of my wife and son, who are unsophisticated computer users who migrated from XP to Win8 and suddenly stopped all their complaining once I installed it). However "hate" is a strong word. I'm not aware that Classic Shell's mere presence causes any problems, and it certainly makes it easier to access the Desktop, Startup folder, Power Options Control Panel, etc. during initial setup of OpenCPN. After initial setup, some users may not want Classic Shell any more, so they can either leave it be or uninstall it if they prefer.
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Old 29-12-2014, 10:01   #12
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
Thanks for moving my tablet tips over to the documentation web page. My writeup that I posted in this thread has a number of clickable links that are important for the usefulness of documentation. Most (but not all) are missing from the version that you pasted over there. Is there a way to restore the links that I embedded in my post?

Also, please note that I was planning to supplement that writeup with some screenshots, when I'm able to get to it.
RhythmDoctor

Thanks for your effort.
I may have deleted a few to many links. The background is that this forum ads a lot of garbage links to any text. We don't want those in our wiki.
I have just inserted your pictures.
Please register an edit the page yourself.
If you need any help, just ask.

Thanks

Thomas
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Old 29-12-2014, 16:16   #13
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post
To amplify the Wiki:

re:
A second option, "Enable Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface" can improve the display......

It is important that the screen width dimension be properly set for this option to work. This may be found at Options->Display->Advanced.
I found on my W8.1 tablet that the automatically calculated size value was wrong, leading to extra large toolbar icons. Easy to correct with a physical measurement.

In the "Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface", the toolbar icon target minimum size is 9mm square. This is the generally accepted minimum button size for several mobile platforms.
Dave,

I'm trying out the new manual pixel size feature for the first time on my tablet. There does seem to be a logic problem that you may want to address. The "width" of a display is an ambiguous term on a tablet, since it can be rotated at will between portrait and landscape mode. My Miix2 is 172 x 108 mm. If I enter 172 and launch O in landscape mode, the icons are 9 mm, just as you designed it. If I rotate the tablet with O running, the window rotates and the icons are still 9 mm. BUT, if I quit out of O, rotate the tablet into portrait mode and re-launch O, the icons are then too small (and stay too small as long as O is till running).

I have an analogous-but-opposite problem if I enter 108 as the width. It works if I launch in portrait mode, but icons are way too big if I launch in landscape mode.

It's clear what you are doing is calculating a dot pitch from the manually entered width and the OS's reported pixel width. The problem (with Windows, at least) is that it appears to report a different pixel width based on the orientation of the tablet at the time that O is launched.

You can eliminate this problem if you change the way you calculate dot pitch:

1) Have the user input the longest dimension (instead of width) in mm, and use the OS's highest pixel dimension. From those two, calculate dot pitch.

or

2) Have the user input the screen's diagonal measurement and use Pythagoras to calculate dot pitch from the pixel count in both directions (assuming square pixels).

Of the two, I would suggest #2, because it may not be clear to the user what the "longest dimension" is in #1. The user might actually think it's the diagonal measurement.

Sorry to be so geeky, but I can see exactly what's happening here and the solution is pretty clear to me.
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Old 29-12-2014, 19:19   #14
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

One earlier suggestion was to have an alternate method which included width x height in pixels or mm, essentially your #2.

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Old 29-12-2014, 19:38   #15
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Re: Touch Screens and Tablets

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
One earlier suggestion was to have an alternate method which included width x height in pixels or mm, essentially your #2.

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Yes, I (and maybe others) had originally suggested entering both height and width. I think as long as pixels are roughly square that one dimension would be simpler and easier. But with the "width" changing with tablet orientation, it would be better to find a more universal dimension.
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