The same interface on every client
We are getting a big amount of responses with the interaction of the dashboard with the server and having the interfaces aligned up between the different clients. Especially the last one got the most responses as it makes sure the client works the exact same way no matter if you use it on mobile, desktop or embedded devices.
A couple of community members immediately started to test out the client on multiple platforms and not the least important, multiple display sizes. We where thrilled to see the client working on displays on 2.8 and 3.5 inch touch screen displays, how cool is that! We never had the intention to build the client for these, but you guys from the community have given use some great ideas to improve support for these little displays. Our primary goal was 7 inch as minimum (with 5 inch as possibility), well, this has been changed now.
Mobile and restrictions
On mobile the client is personalized, meaning you build up a dashboard for your personal needs, also with the restriction to users to only have access to their own devices has been well accepted. You can for example allow a guest to only operate devices in the guestroom. As what you can with fixed displays to let them only show devices in that specific room.
If you have followed or are following our Twitter account you probably have seen clips and pictures being thrown around by us and community members which is great. Especially to see how the client is being used. Like said, it was never intended to run on small displays.
As gratitude we quickly made it possible for us to do some little skinning to give back to the community. Now these little devices show displays like you would if the client was running on green-black and blue-white LCD screens. Just for the fun of it for users who like to use the client for example in their hobby rooms, or for that nostalgic or hobby like exposure.
Like mentioned earlier we got a lot of responses on the new client. From “Wow, this is wonderful” to “This is or that could be done better!”. As we truly believe that community input is needed to create something usable for a wider group of users we take all these responses very seriously. As the client plays an important, maybe even the most important role in using PiDome, we will be focusing on your input and do some modifications of the most mentioned flaws and improvements that have been suggested which are:
- Make better use of space on the dashboard to have controls fit better,
- Some adjustments to the header spacing as it takes too much space,
- Make improvements to the client and make it more usable on really small displays like 2.8 and 3.5 inch displays. Fixed displays having a resolution smaller then 5 inch (pixel wise smaller then 1024*640 (with ppi in mind) either way) will be marked as small.
- Some Android phones are wrongly reporting they are a large display (tablet). We will do our best to show the correct interface but also to enable users to switch between phone/tablet view.
- Make use of the hardware on the raspberry pi to be able to (let users select the pins for):
- Dim/brighten display based on environment ambient lighting (on supported displays),
- Display off timer,
- Display on by touch or button,
- We will add proximity detection to turn on displays to supplement this list.
- Improve the non standard skin rendering as it now is done in real time every time the dashboard is requested which takes up a lot of time.
An extra thank you note
Off course a big thank you goes out to the community who not only gives input onto the client, but to the whole platform as a whole. There are a couple of beta testers who are very dedicated to push the limits and are very, very patient with us. They are some awesome people!
The extra LCD skin with the multiple color schemes has been inspired by work done by Gerrit Grunwald (http://www.harmonic-code.org) aka hansolo (https://twitter.com/hansolo_) He created an impressive LCD design which is part of his Enzo JavaFX controls project (https://bitbucket.org/hansolo/enzo/wiki/Home).
Some client media clips and pictures
Explanation between Mobile and Fixed client:
PiDome client on an 3.5 inch display by one of our users:
Photos of the added LCD skin and five color templates:
Photos of some of the skins on a 3.5 inch display (which needs extra attention from us) taken by a PiDome client tester:
Release announcement two weeks ago: