Landscape-oriented windows for Stellariun on small screens (800×480)

To date, there are at least three ports of Stellarium for mobile devices – the (un-released) Stellarium Mobile port for Nokia N900, the third-party iPhone/iPad port, and another third party port for the N900. There has also been some interest in porting Stellarium for Pandora, an open-source hand-held gaming device, though it seems that the Qt/OpenGL combination causes problems at the moment.

Both Stellarium Mobile and Stellarium for iPhone use custom GUIs, but Stellarium’s default graphical user interface can be used on the small screens of mobile devices with almost no changes. One of the exceptions is the size of some of the windows – the “Sky and viewing options window” and the “Configuration window” are too “high” to fit in the screen size of 800 by 480 pixels used in both the N900 and the Pandora.

One solution is to add scroll bars to the windows – this was used in the unofficial N900 port. Another solution that requires a bit more work is to modify the windows’ layout and make them wider than they they are high:

Note the buggy rendering of Venus’ label. This is probably caused by the new OpenGL 1 text engine, but I’m going to report it when the developers mailing list starts showing greater signs of life.

Now I have only to get hold of the maintainers of the unofficial N900 build and give them the patch…

There are some remaining problems, though – the tabs had to be fixed size in order to be displayed properly. This will cause problems with the translations, as not all translated strings will fit the narrow width of the vertical menu.

There’s also the problem with the plug-in buttons in the bottom bar – if all plug-ins are enabled, the buttons added to the toolbar make it too wide for the screen and the “exit” button is left outside. Well, there’s always Ctrl+Q, but I don’t know how easy is to press this combination on a N900. 😉

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