Strategies for fast implemention of feature-rich GUIs

We have developed a simple GUI, with some real-time signal visualization, buttons, forms, etc. using Windows CE 7 VS C# and .NET, and running on a Colibri T20.

It is functionally perfect but it’s been decided to migrate to a 15inch touchscreen as the main interface, replacing a 6inch TFT to improve market acceptance.

Clearly we now need a more engaging GUI, making use of attractive features such as drag&drop with one finger, two-finger zoom, etc etc

We are studying the fastest way to implement this improvement.

Solutions we are considering:

  1. New GUI implemented with Angular. Can it run on T20, IMX7 or another one of your boards?
  2. GUI implemente with html/css/jscript. Run a webbrowser engine within C# is this possible? easy?
  3. Just add nicer bitmaps to the GUI we already have and try to find C# widgets that implement some of the nice features we would like to have. But will these widgets run on the limited .NET version available on WCE? what if we switch to linux? will it be faster to develop?
  4. Your take.

Regards

Dear @Henry

At Toradex we are focused on optimizing the basic OS, we’re not the experts in GUI development. Please apologize if my answers are not as sound as you might expect.

  1. We don’t have any experience with Angular.
    Please contact them and as whether they have a version which runs in Windows Embedded Compact on an ARM platform.

  2. There are Webkit browsers, such as the Tau TechnologiesRhoBrowser. I tested it successfully on our modules.
    I am not familiar how to integrate it with C#. I would expect that the people at Tau could tell you about this.

  3. The widgets must have been written with the .NET Compact framework in mind, otherwise they will not run.
    There’s no generic statement whether developing under Linux will be faster. An engineer with mainly Linux experience will say yes, an engineer with mainly WinCE experience will say no.

  4. If switching from C# to a native C/C++ environment is an option, one solution I recommend to consider is the Qt framework. It receives increasing attention on the market.

Regards, Andy

Testing with http://soulwire.github.io/Muscular-Hydrostats/ and IMX7 512M (linux, firefox) done. It shows very slow.

As I understand IMX7 does not have acceleration, it is not surprising that IMX7 renders the animation as slow as a Colibri T20 when running browsers which do not use acceleration (even though T20 includes the hardware for it).

Let’s see if we can find a browser forT20 WCE7 with acceleration to report this back also.

Any suggestions on other boards to try from your catalog would be much appreciated.

@Henry,

Could you please try Colibri or Apalis T30, WEC2013 with latest 2.1 release image and let me know your feedback.
Did you try Zeta browser?

Yes, on T20 510MB the Zeta browser was very slow.

We don’t own a Colibri T30 but could purchase it if it seems it could help.

T20 has accelerated 3D graphics, but the issue is that most of Windows CE browser don’t leverage this. If you need full support for the accelerated graphics you may need to use openGL or some UI library that leverages this. QtQuick may leverage this kind of acceleration, but you need to check with our partner KDAB about the kind of support they may provide:
https://www.kdab.com/expertise/qt/windows-embedded-ce/

Thanks for these useful comments.

Aside from the development platform to use, a different issue is which of your boards would be recommended to generate impressive graphics (2D, no need for 3D rendering) and rapid user interaction response to touch on a 15inch 1024x768 screen.

As a convenient (and entertaining) benchmarking we are using this javascript demo: http://soulwire.github.io/Muscular-Hydrostats/
or any of these
http://soulwire.github.io

Our Colibri T20 with WCE 7 (using freely available WCE7 browsers) cannot really run this smoothly (it takes as much as 3 seconds for the shape to track the mouse, and only with very jerky displacement)

We plan to test it also on our IMX7 512M and will report back.

Any suggestion on which of your modules could be best suited?