The purpose of this post is to review how well-designed Maple 2017 GUI is for a Microsoft surface pro 4 tablet touch screen with windows 10 pro (64-bit) and to determine the performance of Maple 2017 on my tablet which has a m3 CPU with a 0.9 GHZ base frequency and 4 GB RAM.
First, my experience is that 4 GB of RAM is far from enough. Under heavy load I have had problems before on other software with 4 GB of RAM. 68 % of my RAM and 41% of the CPU is already gone by simply running Maple and my web browser at the same time before I have even instructed Maple to do any calculations.
I think a tablet with at least 8 GB of RAM would be preferred. If you only want to use Maple as an expensive calculator then you would most likely not even need 4 GB of RAM. I find that the surface pro 4 to be overpriced for the hardware it provides. I think eve windows 10 tablet http://eve-tech.com/ with up to 16 GB of RAM and with a much cheaper price looks much more promising than the Microsoft surface pro 4. When I use the surface pro 4 with word 2016 and the reference manager zotero word plugin I sometime notice a trailing line when I sweep up or down in a document with a lot of references which I suspect is because of the low amount of RAM. When I played with Maple 2017 on my surface pro I noticed the same trailing line which again indicates to me that there is not enough RAM. However, I am not certain that low RAM is the cause of such problem.
Secondly, I managed to increase the size of the Maple icons under the File, Edit etc. menu so now they have a perfect size for a touch screen tablet. Very cool!
However, as you can see words in the text menu File, Edit etc. are way too small for a touch screen tablet. There is a lot of room to the right so the words could easily be increased in size. I am also a missing a menu item called maplet where you can attach your own maplets for easy access. It appears that Maple 2017 GUI has not been designed with a touch screen tablet in mind. I wish the words in the text menu File, Edit etc. would have increased when I increased the size of the icons. The text and icons in the sidebar are also way too small for a touch screen tablet. The name of the open tabs is also to small and x that you tap on to close the worksheet is also to small. It is almost impossible to close a worksheet because the x is so small.
I thinks there are ways in windows 10 to increase the text size in the menus but I have only been able to increase the text size and icon size for all software at the same time. Since, Maple is more or less the only software that I have where the menu text is too small this is not an optimal solution.
The table of content for Maple help files also has too small text as seen in the below picture. However, the biggest problem is not the small words it is the row spacing of the table of content. Some of the words appear almost to be on top of each other. I think the row spacing need to be increased. The text within the help files itself displays beautifully and is in the perfect size.
Another problem is that when you swipe up or down on the touch screen you don’t go up or down in the maple document. You just highlight text as seen in the picture below. This needs to be fixed. Highlighting should be done by a long tap on the screen as in word 2017 on a touch screen devices.
The norm today might be to use Maple on a desktop computer or on a laptop but I am convinced that in the future touch screen tablet will become more and more powerful making them an excellent computers to run Maple on because they are so light and portable. I think Maplesoft must have this in mind when they design the GUI.
Now to test the performance of Maple 2017 on my tablet I decided to generate 1 000 000 random number and see how long it takes. Since I don’t have a benchmark it becomes very hard to comment on how fast maple 2017 is on my tablet but I am hoping that someone can run the same code on their machine and comment on this post so we can get a benchmark.
Maple 2017 claims that running such code took about 50 seconds on my tablet however when I timed it with a stop watch it only took around 30 seconds hence I am a bit confused as to where the 20 seconds difference comes from?