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Issue 10.6 ('Retina')
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Working With Retina

Making your Real Studio applications high resolution

Issue: 10.6 (September/October 2012)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 21,556
Starting Page Number: 25
Article Number: 10606
Resource File(s):

Download Icon project10606.zip Updated: 2012-09-04 14:23:15

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Excerpt of article text...

The release of Apple's Retina Display MacBook Pro this summer marks a watershed event: after two decades of dreaming of screens with printer-like resolution, we finally have such a creature. Regardless of what else you think about the Retina MBP—price, screen size, lack of optical drive, non-upgradability—the fact remains that Retina displays are the future. That means, now is the time to start learning how to upgrade your apps so they work properly with Retina displays. This will not only please your current customers lucky enough to have a Retina MBP, but it will prepare you for the future when all of Apple's lineup is Retina-enabled.

The good news is that with the new Real Studio 2012 Release 1, supporting basic Retina display features isn't too difficult. However, it's important to note that the current support is very limited. The IDE provides no tools to assist in the process; that will likely come in future releases. Also note that this article won't cover advanced Retina features, but simply show you how to enable basic Retina support.

What is a Retina Display?

First, if you've been living off-line for the past couple of years and aren't familiar with the concept of high-DPI (dots-per-inch) screens, let's briefly cover the definition of a "retina" display. Note that "retina display" is simply a term Apple coined, so it's not legally binding. Basically, a "retina" display is anything Apple says it is—but that usually means a screen with a resolution so high that when viewed at a normal viewing distance has pixels too small to be seen. (Viewing distance varies, as an iPhone is held closer to the face than an iPad or laptop, so the smaller devices need higher-resolution screens than computers.)

While the concept of a high-DPI display sounds simple, the reality is much more difficult. If you simply cram more pixels onto the display, text and user interface elements become microscopic. Fortunately Apple's approach to creating Retina displays—first on iPhone, then on iPad, and now on Mac—is to double the traditional resolution in both horizontal and vertical directions. This means that what used to be a single pixel on the screen is made up of four pixels on a Retina display. The benefit of this is that software can still work as though the traditional resolution is in effect and Apple's operating system can handle increasing the detail when it renders text and user interface elements.

In theory, therefore, existing software just runs as normal only everything looks sharper and clearer. For instance, while a Retina MacBook Pro's native resolution is 2880 x 1800 its nominal resolution is 1440 x 900—the same as traditional 15" MacBook Pros. From a programmer's perspective, your program will run as though the display is 1440 x 900 and you should haven't to do anything different.

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