Monday, July 23, 2012

Screen DPI vs Remoting issues

It seems to me the user experience for high DPI displays like the Apple Retina display will be horrible for certain scenarios.

If I'm remoting into a windows machine using Remote Desktop or displaying an X application using X11 remoting then the host DPI settings are probably going to result in a bad experience. I already see this in when using my work laptop to remote into my desktop.

At work I have multiple 24" 1920x1080 monitors. When I RDP into the machine from my 14" 1920x1080 work laptop I get text in the code editor that is barely legible. I can't imagine how bad this would be on the Retina display!

The Remote Desktop and other remote display clients should enable a pass-through mechanism for client DPI. This way the host can probably format the display for remoting.

To expand on this idea, if all UI settings relating to size were stored in a device independent way (for example: twips, 1/1440 of an inch) then a translation could take place to always match the physical dimensions of the UI. You could even have a constant scaling factor so you can change this for a device. For example, I may not want my cell phone displaying at full physical dimensions, maybe it's okay to go with 50% or 25% and I know I have to squint at it, but I want my laptop or tablet to use 80-90% physical dimensions, etc...

If no one has thought of this yet well it's here first... prior art recorded.

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