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Displays Programming

4K Is For Programmers 520

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-are-no-longer-satisfied-with-your-display-setup dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The 4K television revolution is upon us, and nobody is impressed. Most users seem content to wait until there's actually something to watch on these ultra-high-res displays, and also for the price to come down. However, Brian Hauer has written an article promoting a non-standard use for these displays. His office just got a 39", 3840x2160 display for each of their programmers' workstations. He now confidently declares, 'For the time being, there is no single higher-productivity display for a programmer.' Hauer explains: 'Four editors side-by-side each with over a hundred lines of code, and enough room to spare for a project navigator, console, and debugger. Enough room to visualize the back-end service code, the HTML template, the style-sheet, the client-side script, and the finished result in a web browser — all at once without one press of Alt-tab.'"
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4K Is For Programmers

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  • by xombo (628858) on Friday January 10, 2014 @11:59AM (#45917121)

    Must... reopen... Dell financing account.

  • by iONiUM (530420) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:02PM (#45917179) Homepage Journal

    And it is really awesome for coding. I'm sure 4K is even better.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:03PM (#45917187) Homepage
    Personally, While 1 large monitor could have some advantages, I feel that many smaller monitors actually work better. Most window managers don't really handle a single large monitor as well as many small ones. For instance, I can just maximize a bunch of different applications, each on different monitor. Only takes a few clicks. To do something similar with multiple monitors, I'd have to do a lot of manual movement and resizing of windows to get things to line up right. I have 3 17 inch (4:3) monitors on my desk right now. 17 inch monitors are fine for a single window. I could see how having them slightly larger would be nice, but I'd much rather have 3, 17 inch monitors than a single 40 inch monitor, no matter the resolution.
    • by Max Threshold (540114) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:10PM (#45917305)
      Yeah, but what about those Quake breaks?
    • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:11PM (#45917309) Homepage
      The problem that you describe is just an indicator that our software has not yet evolved for this type of display. Solutions to the problems that you have described are sure to pop up as creative individuals start a race toward different solutions.
      • I think you're right ModernGeek, Windows currently snaps applications to full-screen or half-screen, I'd expect them to add a corners option eventually if these displays get popular. With so many UIs available for Linux, I expect it to get done there sooner than Windows.
        • In Linux, it takes longer to decide on an optimal setup than it does to write wmctrl hotkeys to place+size windows however your little heart desires. And has for a very long time.
          • by MightyYar (622222)

            If you aren't afraid of the command line, then you can do this on Windows, too.

            Using the "win" command in NirCmd [nirsoft.net], you can screw around with window sizes and placement. The "window" command of the for-pay software Take Command [jpsoft.com] can do this as well. There are also ways to manipulate windows in Powershell [stackoverflow.com].

    • by laffer1 (701823)

      I completely agree. For programming, multiple monitors is great. I can have documentation or a local copy of the web app running in one display and my code window in the other. I have two displays at work, one in portrait and the other landscape. Works very well for web development.

      Now, this giant monitor might be great for gaming.

      • It's only 30fps. I've been thinking about getting one of these for development for a few days now, but wouldn't want to hook one up to my media/gaming PC.
        • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:38PM (#45917703)

          Wait for it...

          60Hz is just starting to show up. Dell's got two monitors available now and 1 that should be available real soon now that do 4k at 60Hz over DisplayPort 1.2a. There are a couple other monitors out there that also do 60Hz and a TV with HDMI 2 that'll be out soon. Unfortunately there aren't many video cards that support it yet and firmware/driver issues are just starting to get ironed out. Give it another 6 months and you should be able to get a good setup for gaming. (Of course, then you might have trouble with 4k support in existing games.)

    • by zakkudo (2638939) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:14PM (#45917375)

      That's probably true for most users. But when you disable raise-on-click and and choose to raise windows with either another mouse button or alt-click, maximize starts to seem really *really* silly. I personally work with windows on top of other windows, making better use of my screen real estate than most people.

      Now mentally, I could see how many small monitors helps you to organize windows like workspaces. That would be a plus.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      I think the idea is that eventually you'll have 3 40" 4K monitors :)

      At least, that's what I'd like to see.
    • by gman003 (1693318)

      My Dell 27" 1440p monitor came with an application that let you "snap" windows to various locations, more so than the normal two-side-by-side Windows does. You could set up various modes, from a few asymmetric two-side-by-sides at the least dense, to (I believe) a three-by-three grid. I ended up not using it, since the productive stuff I do with it actually works best with just the Windows normal setup.

      I'm sure there's similar free software for your OS of choice if Dell managed to put it on their driver dis

    • by Twinbee (767046) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:34PM (#45917657) Homepage
      It's only a matter of time before Window Managers and Windows itself catches up. There are in principle NO advantages to a multiple monitor setup. In principle you could essentially emulate multiple monitors with one big display. In fact it's better to have a single big display because then you also get the height which reduces neck strain. You also would avoid the gaps between the displays, and permit overlapping windows between each section.

      Unfortunately, I feel this band-aid of using multiple monitors has held back the rise of bigger monitors in general.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        In principle you could essentially emulate multiple monitors with one big display.

        Well yes, but most that use a three screen setup angle the side screens somewhat so it'd have to be one really big, curved display not just a 21:9+ ultra wide. That would be really sweet for a games setup, multi-monitor gaming just doesn't appeal to me at all with those bezels.

      • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Friday January 10, 2014 @03:33PM (#45919759)

        > There are in principle NO advantages to a multiple monitor setup. In principle you could essentially emulate multiple monitors with one big display. In fact it's better to have a single big display

        I use 3 monitors for development on Linux:

          27" @ 1920x1080 via HDMI
          24" @ 1080x1920 via Dual-Link DVI (NOT a typo, monitor has been rotated 90 degrees), and
          27" @ 2560x1440 via DisplayPort

        My total horizontal resolution is 5560

        When I click maximize on my rotated 24" 1080x1920 I don't have to worry about it accidentally wasting space on the ENTIRE workspace.

        Uhm, sorry, but you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

    • I've had a 30" 2560x1600 monitor for maybe five years now and don't even use fullscreen for Eclipse. I don't tile windows which sounds like what you want; I just have a bunch open, some side by side, others behind the ones in front but usually with some part visible I can click on to bring them to the front.

      I've used two screens before and think that's pretty good for some uses as well. I just don't see a need for extra screens if the main one is large enough. I suspect "large enough" means no commonly use
    • I have a big 4k monitor and an "older" 21 or so inch that I turn in portrait. That combination works best for me, as I can have API info open on the vertical while I code in the main screen. I can tell you, however, that it isn't just the real estate, its how insanely crisp the monitor is. Fonts are gorgeous from 8 point to absurdly huge. My monitor is routinely borrowed on "impress the client" presentation days for the hands on.
    • There is a minimum legible text size, a minimum for distinguishing icons. And ergonomic reasons for not having to move your eyes and head too much. I think that places an upper bound on screen size. Resolution has to scale with distance, but makes no sense to have a high rez screen further away.
      At that point, you have the option of multiple displays, reorienting yourself to see one or the other. People may argue a large screen allows that, but to combat eye fatigue you want those areas walled off. Physical

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Because multiple monitor support is poop in every OS in some way. It always falls down somewhere. I want it to be as good as using one of those devices that splits one video signal onto multiple monitors, but it never is. I want it to work equally well as three distinct displays or as one unified display, and it never does.

      I want one 4k display, and as soon as it doesn't cost more than the rest of my system put together, I'll upgrade. I have an early 25.5" IPS display at 1920x1200 now. It's got some ghostin

  • I like the idea of a higher-resolution monitor letting me fit more in to the same space, but what's the physical size of a legible character on one of those things?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pretty much the same as on 19" fullHD display.

      It's the same PPI, you insensible clod!

    • Re:Character size? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:14PM (#45917367) Homepage
      Well, to be fair, at 40 inches, 4k actually starts to make sense. It's basically the same as 4, 1080p monitors, each being 20 inches. So, you could basically get a similar layout by purchasing 4 smaller monitors, and then arranging them in big rectangle. Plus, as I said in another post, arranging windows is easier on multiple monitors.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        4k makes sense at half that size; we just don't expect it yet. High-DPI monitors look beautiful, provided the interface displayed on them is similarly high-dpi. I've been watching them make their way up through phones and tablets to laptops, waiting for the day that I could have one at my workstation.

        I never want to see a pixel again.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Plus, as I said in another post, arranging windows is easier on multiple monitors

        That's a flaw in your window manager. Tiling window managers work well for this.

  • by operagost (62405) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:08PM (#45917271) Homepage Journal
    SHUT UP and take my money!
  • Which window manager handles such a large display best? Modern desktop environments, whether we talk about Gnome or Windows or Mac OS X, tend to work best when you let one window take over the entire screen. Mac OS X and modern Gnome with the top-of-the-screen menu bar in particular is fairly unhelpful with a sufficiently large screen.

    Can you just split it into four subscreens and do a reverse Xinerama? It makes me a bit sad that this is the state of the art after 30 years or so of GUI development.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Which window manager handles such a large display best? Modern desktop environments, whether we talk about Gnome or Windows or Mac OS X, tend to work best when you let one window take over the entire screen.

      Windows actually handles this pretty well with the Snap [microsoft.com] feature.

      All you have to do is press Win+Left to get a window to take up exactly the left half of the screen, or Win+Right to take up just the right half. So having two windows side-by-side is very quick and easy. Also, if you vertically resize a w

    • by captjc (453680)

      KDE 4 has a nice take on the Windows 7 snap feature. Drag a window to a corner and it will take up that quarter of the screen. Drag to a side and it will take up that half. and drag to top to full screen.

      I primarily use the half-screen option but with 4k I could easily see myself doing 1/4 window apps.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:12PM (#45917327) Homepage

    I have no interest whatsoever in changing my TV over to 4K resolution -- because there's no content, because I don't care and don't see the benefit, and because my current big screen and associated stuff is still really new.

    But, I'd dearly love to have that kind of resolution for my monitor. That much screen resolution and real-estate would be awesome, especially in a dual monitor setup.

    However, it's still technology, which means I refuse to be on the bleeding edge of it. I know a lot of people who bought HD TVs early in the game, only to find out that the evolving spec and addition of DRM made their TVs obsolete before they ever really got to see them fully used.

    I predict there will be at least one generation of this technology which ends up getting abandoned and the purchasers will be left holding the bag.

    For TV, I figure just because Sony et al want to believe I should be replacing my TV stuff every few years -- well, that's not my problem.

    • >However, it's still technology, which means I refuse to be on the bleeding edge of it

      If this was $2000, or even $1000 I'd agree with you, but at $500 many of us can easily afford it and get plenty of use out of it, despite knowing that we'll be replacing it with a true 120hz 4K display for a reasonable price in a couple of years. I also don't see support for these monitors being dropped. Nvidia and AMD aren't going to stop allowing selection of 4K resolution at 30hz.
    • I have no interest whatsoever in changing my TV over to 4K resolution -- because there's no content...

      Actually, Netflix announced that they will begin streaming 4k content today: Netflix App to Stream 4K on New TVs Immediately [go.com]

    • As far as TVs go, our living room TV is still a standard definition set and will remain so until it dies. While I'd love to upgrade the the newest shiny thing every time some trivial upgrade comes out, my bank account has different ideas. So we'll run the standard definition TV into the ground before upgrading. (We have a small HD set in our bedroom because our SD set there died.) As far as 4K TVs go? I'll probably wind up upgrading to one of those sometime around 2030. Maybe by then they'll have cont

  • Currently at work I and all of my co-workers all have dual Dell 30" 2560x1600 monitors. I agree that screen real-estate (resolution, not directly the physical size) makes a huge difference. I wouldn't go back to a single 1200p (never 1080p) setup ever again; I have dual 28" 1200p screens at home for the same reason (not the 1600p ones because of cost at home). However, I am unsure of the 39" form factor for a single monitor; I think I'd rather have dual 30" monitors at lower res than a single 4k at 39". Th
    • You could always buy a 24" at the same resolution from Dell [dell.com], available right now. Of course, you're going to be forking over $1300 if you want it today. Or you can pony up a whopping $3500 and get their 32" (who are they kidding with that price point from 2012?). The Dell 28" UltraHD available January 23rd will be $700. Considerably more expensive than the Seiki model, but in the size you like and at least the price point is within shouting distance.

  • But 4K ought to be enough for anybody!
  • Too big (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oceanplexian (807998) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:17PM (#45917409) Homepage

    For the time being, there is no single higher-productivity display for a programmer.

    You can currently buy a 2560x1440 27" display for around $350. The Seiki display they refer to is actually two 1920x2160 panels stitched together and limited to a painful 30hz. Second, the monitor is not 4k, it's 3840x2160 which is only UHD. 4k is 4096x2160.

    Finally, this is a nearly 40 inch display. They look ridiculous as a computer monitor and the ergonomics suck.

    Just give us 4k in a 27-30" form factor for people that aren't blind. I'm amazed that phones can have higher pixel densities than computer monitors.

    • The Seiki display they refer to is actually two 1920x2160 panels stitched together...

      Citation?

      None of the reviews on Amazon mention a visible seam, and I find it very hard to believe that could be done without one.

    • Re:Too big (Score:4, Informative)

      by WuphonsReach (684551) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:34PM (#45918339)
      Finally, this is a nearly 40 inch display. They look ridiculous as a computer monitor and the ergonomics suck.

      We used to say the same about 24-27" monitors.

      I have (4) 22-27" displays on my desk arranged in a 2x2 array, which measures almost 45-48" diagonally. Being able to replace that with a single 40" display would be rather nice. Granted, they might need to curve it a bit for it to be properly ergonomic for desktop use. (Hidden advantage of the 2x2 array of monitors is that I can turn each one inward a bit to be properly aligned for my field of vision).

      A 32" 4K display would be just about perfect for replacing the right-half of my monitor array.

      The other trick you learn with multiple displays arranged in a 2x2 array is that you put less important information in the upper screens.
  • When you have enough resolution to zoom in and accurately reconstruct Kim Kardashian's retina and fingerprints.

  • Video Card Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:23PM (#45917485) Homepage Journal

    So what sort of video card do I need to drive a few (2 to 4) of these at one time?

  • I've been clamoring for larger, higher-resolution displays since the days when I chose a 16x64-character TRS-80 instead of a 24x40 PET or Apple II, and longed for the luxury of a 24x80 terminal.

    The sad thing is that now, with higher-DPI displays finally coming into the mainstream, my eyes are losing their ability to focus on close objects. My iPad could display hundreds of columns of text, but I wouldn't be able to read them. Yeah, yeah, computer glasses.

    I spent quite some time drooling over the 4K displays

  • The Other 4K (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slapout (93640) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:35PM (#45917667)

    Was I the only one who thought about the 4K demo coding contests when reading the headline?

  • > Hauer explains: 'Four editors side-by-side each with over a hundred lines of code, and enough room to spare for a project navigator, console, and debugger. Enough room to visualize the back-end service code, the HTML template, the style-sheet, the client-side script, and the finished result in a web browser — all at once without one press of Alt-tab.

    "Yeah, got one of those. It'd do all that, except the OS only allows me to display one fullscreen app at a time. In really REALLY high resolution,

  • I currently use a 47" TV as primary monitor at home. Would be nice to replace with higher resolution, but I'm waiting for prices to come down.

    I'd much rather sit back in an easy chair and relax than worry about ergonomics.

  • You went and spilled the beans about 'alt-tab'!

    Now it's going to be harder to find people to amaze by showing them how they can swap between applications without taking their hands off the keyboard.

    Ruined all my fun...

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