So on the latest Black Friday / Cyber Monday, I decided to invest into yet another hardware device
the Surface Pro 2017
Here the logic of why spend that kind of money on hardware.
Basically, when you publish with Adobe AIR on mobile you mainly target iOS and Android,
and you manage your app to be able to adapt to multiple screen resolutions (phone and tablet).
Investing time and effort to port an iOS/Android app to Windows RT / Windows Phone
has always been a "no no" for me, simply because Adobe AIR does not publish to those platforms,
and few years later those platforms are dead in the water anyway.
But ... if you go look in the Windows Store for Windows 10, you will see a pattern, almost every big game published for iOS/Android are also published to the Universal Windows Platform.
For example: Cut The Rope
And here the "trick", if you look into Available for:
you will see PC, and sometimes more rarely PC and Mobile.
To me it means "hey I could also publish Adobe AIR apps/games to the UWP, even if I only target PC",
without having to rebuild the whole app from scratch and/or with another technology stack.
Now, why not using a VM ?
I can have a Windows 10 VM running and test there but there are 2 things I can hardly test:
If you look into Steam, you can see a tag Touch-Friendly and a curator Touch-friendly-games, and those do not seem to be too overcrowded.
Also, with Adobe AIR
Now, why go with a Surface Pro ?
First, the smallest config Intel Core m3 / 128 GB SSD / 4 GB RAM got a lot of discount, it seems Microsoft is pushing hard to sell more of them during the holidays.
Right now, on amazon, you can find the bundle
Microsoft Surface Pro (Intel Core m3 / 128 GB SSD / 4 GB RAM) + Type Cover keyboard for 799€
on Microsoft store you can find the same bundle for 799€ too
and I got mine for 700€ (yep saved 430€) which was a pretty good deal imho.
The Surface Pro cover the two basics for testing: touch screen and being able to connect an Xbox controller.
The screen is 12,3 inches, that means 2736 x 1824 (267 PPP) with a 3:2 ratio which is also quite interesting to test for multiple screens.
Also, this latest Surface Pro can also be used to test other nifty hardware stuff
Morality, a lot of bang for the buck and hardware stuff I can not test in other environments.
Oh, but it get better ...
My whole logic here is to be able to test on real hardware to be sure it works as intended for the users and also be able to support those users, eg. "make the users happy, sell more apps".
But this low-end Surface Pro pack a lot of oomph and it happen you can also definitively use it as a laptop to do work stuff like programming and designing
Mind me, I'm usually an Apple hardware guy and I look down on Windows ...
but here Microsoft bring a pretty interesting combo of hardware and software at a cheap price.
Question: Can you do programming stuff on this cheap Intel Core m3-7Y30 ?
First thing you would want to do is upgrade your Windows 10 to the latest
see Windows 10 version history
Mine came with version 1703 (Redstone 2) which is nice and all, but you do want to upgrade
to the "Fall Creators Update", eg. version 1709 (Redstone 3)
Because from version 1709, the Windows Subsystem for Linux is no more in beta and can be installed directly from the Windows Store
It is not exactly like using Cygwin but it's nice and integrated into the system and more importantly it uses very few memory compared to running a full blown Ubuntu VM.
Be sure to read the WSL FAQ.
Little tests I did is open many Ubuntu bash console, compile stuff (like redtamarin), using tons of SSH sessions to different servers, checkout stuff from github and other svn repos, etc.
Surprisingly even with a m3 CPU and only 4GB of RAM, the little machine eat through all those tasks without too much efforts .
So I went to my next test and see if it could run and compile with Flash builder.
First, I installed the Java SE 8u152 JDK, and right after that I installed Adobe Flash Builder 4.7 and Adobe Scout CC, and it does work and it's not slow at all (yep Eclipse run fast with only 4GB RAM).
By default on the Surface Pro you will get High DPI scaling that will make the Flash Builder 4x times smaller.
To change that select the
FlashBuilder.exe , right click
and in the
select the option
Override high DPI scaling behaviour. Scaling performed by:
and then select
and with that you'll get back a normal UI ratio.
From there I tested stuff also with VS Code etc.
Did not tested big graphics softwares like Photoshop but I do think they should run fine too
Morality: I went and buy the cheapest of the surface pro for testing purpose
and damn!!! I can actually work on this little machine
So far it got all the advantages of an iPad pro + Macbook Air combo, at 1/4 of the price, nice.