Adobe released the 2017 version of it’s Creative Cloud suite last week. While I haven’t spent a lot of time investigating it, one of the first things I wanted to look at was the UI scaling / HiDpi support. Ever since I started using a Surface Pro 2 and a high res desktop screen I’ve found that some apps that I would assume will have support (iTunes!?!), don’t. Dreamweaver is one of those apps.
UI Scaling – The Goggles, they do nothing!
I’ve been short sighted all my life, and now I’m careering headlong into middle-age at a rate of knots (oh who am I kidding, I’m already there) I find that I’m also getting a bit long-sighted and sometimes need glasses to read. A lot depends on the light and how far away I hold what I’m trying to read. Neither of which is massively relevant, but I can’t abide fuzzy. And fuzzy is what I’m getting with Dreamweaver right now. On the plus side, Dreamweaver now has the option to use a dark user interface, which I much prefer, and is easier on my poor old peepers.
Here I’m attempting to show the difference between Dreamweaver with UI scaling left as default, and the next with it turned off in the shortcut properties.
I struggle with the blurry look of the above. The scale is good, but everything is soft and as someone who wears glasses I find it particularly irritating. I cannot for the life of me find anything within the application preferences that lets me sort this out. There is a fudge, which I’ll go into further down.
I’ve had to scale this down a bit for loading reasons, but the entire window is fuzzy. The UI is soft, the code view is soft. The only thing that can be said in it’s favour is that the design view is pretty accurate. Since the last update, the Chrome browser has started scaling websites up in the same way that Firefox does.
My subjective view is that I find this behaviour in browsers irritating. What on earth is the point in getting HiDpi and all that lovely screen real estate, only to have the browsers scale everything up and make non-retina images all blurry. Retina images tend to be big, and big (or slow to download) images are not that convenient on mobile devices with limited data plans.
Turning off UI scaling
There is a fix that makes everything go sharp again. However it also makes everything go tiny as well… !
If you’re using the tiled Start view on Windows 10, right click on the Dreamweaver icon and “Show in folder”. This opens an explorer window with the desktop contents, including the shortcut for Dreamweaver. Right click on the Dreamweaver shortcut, and choose “Properties” and then “Compatibility”. Check “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings. Click OK and close. If you haven’t shut down Dreamweaver, do so. Then start it up again.
This is what you get:
In the above, the text is smaller and sharper. Unfortunately the screen grab doesn’t quite convey the crispness of the text as JPG is not the best image format to use. However it should be obvious that there is a marked difference in size and quality of the text.
In the above, the text is smaller, and in reality a bit too small. But at least it’s crisper. The problem here is that the design / live view now no longer shows a fair approximation of what the page will look like on a HiDpi / retina screen. Instead of scaling up, it stays at ‘actual resolution’. OK, I can remedy this by previewing in a browser, I always have. In fact I would preview in the previous version of Chrome, and check my media queries in Firefox Developer. It’s not as if Adobe aren’t aware of the issue, it’s been rolling about on the forums for a long time..
In all honesty, I’m not even sure why I use Dreamweaver at times. I use the code view to write CSS and HTML and preview in a browser. I never use the CSS designer or any of the pre-made scripts and pages. The only thing I did find it quite useful for was creating a site in Bootstrap a little while back. The fact is, I use it because it’s ‘there’. I need Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, so I’m a subscriber. It comes with the CC suite. That said, I’ve been playing with Serif’s Affinity Designer beta and I’m pretty impressed. There’s a good chance I’ll splash the minuscule (compared to Adobe) asking price for it when it’s released.