Subsurface on Android or: Subsurface 4.7 / 5.0

Anton Lundin glance at
Mon Feb 13 03:25:24 PST 2017

On 13 February, 2017 - Willem Ferguson wrote:

> I am making myself singularly unpopular by asking the following
> questions. This is because I did not see the original discussion on
> the topic of the Android development path for Subsurface. My
> comments come from an hour or two I played around with the full
> Subsurface-desktop on an Android phone while in the waiting room of
> a hospital, tending to sick family this weekend. Previously, I had
> downloaded a dive log onto the phone as per previous correspondence.
> For me, it felt like the full desktop implementation on Android was
> almost usable. The dive trips are organised, can be expanded. If one
> is prepared to use the MainMenu->View path, one can fairly smoothly
> switch between info panel, profile and dive list, the statistics are
> calculated, importantly the dive ceiling is calculated. In short,
> there is quite bit of functionality in there, even taking into
> account the ridiculously small screen of the phone.
> Then I thought of running this on a tablet, but as far as I can make
> out the screen resolution on tablets is much less (e.g. 800*1200,
> though I see some of the state-of-the-art tablets have 1600*2500)
> than on phones (1440*2560 on my phone). So having a 10" tablet is
> not really gaining a lot except a larger display size, but not
> necessarily more information being displayed.
> Question 1. Am I therefore correct that available mobile screen
> resolutions are too low to run the full Subsurface effectively, even
> with a 10" tablet?

Subsurface is resonable usable on 1024x768 screen, so I see no real
issues in getting the desktop ui to run well on a tablet. The real issue
is to get a UI that works on a phone.

There are some scalability work which we should do, both for supporting
really high dpi screens, which can probably be leveraged in a desktop
touch mode to.

There are no real technical issues in running the desktop ui on a
Android tablet.

> The full Subsurface on Android has several features that have not
> been incorporated into Subsurface-mobile, e.g. the calculation
> within each dive, e.g. the dive profile, setting GF's etc, full
> details on equipment. These options are currently not even foreseen
> in the immediate future. If one eliminates the View->All possibility
> which is just too much detail for a small screen, the interface
> becomes semi-workable.
> Question 2. What were the reasons at the outset that determined that
> at totally new UI be developed, rather than trying to adapt the
> existing UI to a small screen? Effective use of the UI would require
> mobile elements such e.g. dragging of screens as in
> Subsurface-Mobile. I am convinced that there were impeccable reasons
> for the decisionmaking, but because I am naïve about those I remain
> curious.

In the initial port to android there was only the desktop ui. This was 3
years ago, and it ran, but looked like shit and wasn't usable.

Qt have matured since, and we have done at least some dpi independence

Last time I tried to use the desktop ui on a phone it sucked as usual,
because trying to hit a tiny slider with my sausage fingers is hard.
That doesn't mean it can't be improved, but it will never be a good
experience. Design for touch and design for traditional desktop are
different. Yes, they can be sort of combined, but usually they just end
up being windows-8-ish.


Anton Lundin	+46702-161604

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