It's the keyboard layout.

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Silent-Hunter, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. _wb_

    _wb_ Microbe Staff Member

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    German gets a pass, but not Spanish and French?

    That does not make sense to me.

    The 6 official languages of the UN are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.

    Arabic, Chinese and Russian do not use a Latin alphabet, so we can't hope to cover those, but English, French and Spanish we can cover quite easily: we just need éèàçñ and some diacritics.

    Removing the "clutter" of the more obscure letters (Æ Ø Å Đ Ł), we would get something like this:

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/ec5f7a737b72261c295b823b52ce73e3

    ~1200 million people speak English

    460 million people speak Spanish

    336 million people speak Portuguese

    274 million people speak French

    over 150 million people speak Swahili

    145 million people speak German

    73 million people speak Tagalog (Filipino)

    64 million people speak Italian

    28 million people speak Dutch

    ~17 million people speak Afrikaans

    That means 2674 million people can type their language well without needing any remapping or having to remember unlabeled things (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swahili, German, Tagalog, Italian, Dutch, Afrikaans).

    If you remove the letters and keep only the diacritics, those languages can still be typed (e.g. by doing tilde+n to get ñ or umlaut+u to get ü), but it becomes a lot less efficient. Only the ones in bright green remain efficient with diacritics-only (1459 million).

    If you remove also the diacritics, then all of the above become near impossible to type except English and Swahili (1350 million).

    So roughly speaking, the amount of people who can write their language (efficiently) roughly doubles by adding the diacritics (at least ′ ` ¨ ~ ˆ, preferably also ¸ .ˇ ) and dedicated Meta-keys for ñçéèàüöäß.

    Sorted from most important to least important extra letters, I think this would be roughly the right order:

    ñ ç é è à ü ö ä ß å Ł æ ø Đ

    Here's the link to the big table again, for convenience:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14mVNNzLhmhyA4sCIAPSoDv404xtctfLSiEMTtTlEzfw/edit?usp=sharing
     
  2. Neelix

    Neelix Insecticidal Maniac

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    I'd also recommend checking out MrConfusion's thread "THE Fn-key" where he explores keyboard mapping implementation options.

    (I almost overlooked it as being yet another keyboard layout thread, based on the thread title,  but it's definitely one worth following)

    - Neelix
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2016
  3. lennaick

    lennaick Member

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    Could'be a really nice feature.

    I do not want to see non-english letters labeled because :

     - This did not look really nice

     - I'll not use all those symbols

     - Some letters are misplaced and/or missing (no big deal but, if I have to (re)map them, I don't need them to be labeled)
     
  4. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    I think this is just about the same I wrote in an earlier post.

    This looks decent. I'd remove the ◌ labels though and it would be nice if it could be all single modifier keys like in this keyboard http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/207288cf6cf433f297de3c1ffbb1d1ba

    But then all room for the non english labels would be gone ;)

    Both in my case :)

    I think it's quite different to have a ` next to a letter instead of an ä in regards to clutter.
     
  5. Saber

    Saber Advanced Member

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    Added a supplementary method for several of the most important, in my opinion, dead key diacritics, in addition to the already presented keyboard shortcuts in my layout. If it's at all a feasible approach, this extra method could be in place day one, or added by the user themselves later.

    It's quite simple to do too(again, if feasible).   :)

    Edit: I should point out Left Shift is used here. Internet was being fussy.  <_<

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  6. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    For me this would be a good compromise. Good job!
     
  7. MrConfusion

    MrConfusion Very Active Member

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    Looks, definitely, I think translators like the ones on display in this thread look like they were made for OAPs for cheap in China and if the Pyra looks like that, well, obviously not the thing for me lookswise. Print the bare minimum on keys, meaning everything in US101, and I think it is done and ready and looks "business".

    But then again: looks are not the thing for me to begin with. I sure appreciate geeky things like the Ultima idea I had, that's fun, I would buy, especially now there'll be backlight. But looks in general are "meh so what it's shiny" to me.

    Basically when I first saw pictures of the Pandora my first though with regards to the keyboard was: "I wonder where the missing keys are mapped?". When it became reasonably certain it's modifiable in any way I want, I stopped caring.

    Again, for me: what is in the keymat matters little: it won't be what it is in any case, except maybe for qwerty.

    I can remember just fine that the numpad starts from W whether or not it's labeled with a small 7 or a cheese squilly.

    And I can always buy black paint from HW store :-D.

    Just keep calm and design layouts...
     
  8. Saber

    Saber Advanced Member

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    For me this would be a good compromise. Good job!
    Thanks. Nice to hear this.

    One of the goals I've attempted to reach is trying to cram features into the layout without looking like it's been overloaded. Not so easy at times when shortcuts collide. For the basic user, most of these hidden easter eggs will be maybe unseen for the life of the device. Those on the other hand who may need them, will have much of them, right under their finger tips. 
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  9. MrConfusion

    MrConfusion Very Active Member

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    I had reason to check for existence of such programs earlier (for the mentioned other thread). I was left with the vague impression something has been done in something like KDE or Gnome. But found no definite programs other than a program that prints the map as a.ps. I don't do KDE or Gnome, though I intend to fire up my desktop and check, as I'm sure both of them are sufficiently in it...

    Basically what seems to be currently visioned for the Pyra needs an xkb map. Xkb is a beast: if I understood it all you would start by describing the physical appearance of the Pyra keyboard (including how many mm apart the keys are...). Then keycodes. Then stuff that, at a glance, flew over me like the fighter plane it was... I guess the docs tried to say you define modes and produced symbol for each mode.

    I'm sure anyone cobbling up a good, generic enough xkb GUI will also be hailed by other projects...

    As for quick changes: that's regular xmodmap territory. I constantly do xmodmap changes to layouts on most of my machines by simply calling scripts I've bound to a specific keycombination that DWM keeps an eye on. That's no hard core programming: DWM spawns a bash script, script does any work as needed (typically in my case checks a state I echoed to /tmp earlier), script calls xmodmap and hey presto: keymap change done!

    The reason why xkb is required is simply that xmodmap provides 4 levels for symbols: plain, shifted, metaed, shiftmetaed. Shiftmetaed is not OK, if Pyra also needs altgrmetaed. In xmodmap the assumption seems to have been that altgr should be enough for everyone. xkb does this. And the dishes, I think. Whoever designed the thing probably thought: "I'll expose every function I put to this thing via text configuration files, so no-one will ever complain something can't be done."

    The neat thing is these are not competing systems: you can do the base with xkb and modify with xmodmap, no problems.

    (Edit because something went wrong on first attempt: message was cut...)
     
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  10. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    In my humble opinion:

    This is good but has room for improvement:  http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/1ff3bb981d48ee4f7e191742dbc49182

    This is a step sideways:  http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/c32ba59bfadaadbab4a69b88ed4881b1

    This is two steps backwards:  http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/e6d10b1072458a3f7d568bd437478d5b

    This would be better: http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/506b2c784b770c2b396be9ce4b6044d9

    There has been a long debate on what to put on the 'Two extra game buttons'.  Why not » and «?  They're present in most code pages,  They should translate easily into games for mapping.

    Thoughts?

    99% credit for this layout belongs to _wb_.  I just tweaked it a bit.

    Edit:  Cleaned it up a bit more.  In my humble opinion, this is a potential winner.

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/506b2c784b770c2b396be9ce4b6044d9

    Is this something we can get several of the keyboard designers to support?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  11. _wb_

    _wb_ Microbe Staff Member

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    I want to have useful keys at the extra game buttons. The game buttons should be easier to press than most other keys, so they're 'special' in a way.

    « and » are not very useful, and I don't think there exist keyboards that have them as dedicated primary keys. Remember that I'm not really in favor of putting Ins/Del at the game buttons, even though Del is a very useful key, because I consider Ins to be not useful enough to 'deserve' a game button. So I think « » certainly do not deserve such a nice position.

    Going back to Shift and Meta on the left, and restricting 'foreign' labels to what is needed for German, French, Spanish and Portuguese, I get this:

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/aa2e94f502cf26d345809d43beff7466

    The § € £ ° ¡¿ labels could be dropped, to further reduce the visual "clutter":

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/f609c3d25cf02897f4fd986f4c9c9a7d

    Further simplifying, dedicated èà could be removed (like on many Canadian French keyboards), giving this:

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/82486fb4d8234dfb9f2e29868af4931b

    (note that the dead Grave is at Meta+A, so à is a Meta+A mash followed by A)
     
  12. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    Unless the UN is going to be buying pyras as foreign aid to arabic and swahili-speaking nations, i dont see how any number of pyras are going to be sold there.

    I'd like to be wrong, but can we please focus on the current and potential customer-group.
     
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  13. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    What CK said.. Why are people so hung up on supporting 800 languages.. :(

    Most probably 5 to 10k units will be made and sold to users who are most likely users of- or atleast familiar with the Pandora which, out of the box, hardly has any international support at all and all those are sold out.
     
  14. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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     I'm skipping the collection of alternatives proposed there - something about having /? on the space bar just doesn't set right.  Tab fits there MUCH better, and that only works well if keyboard Fn is on the left, which only works well if shoulder Fn is on the right.

    I think you may be thinking in the wrong direction for the two alternative game buttons. It may be better if the don't have normal real-world use. In fact, it might be better if they don't.  Let's think about just those two buttons and how they'll be used.

    1.  They're going to be commonly mapped into games - which in many cases have typed communications.  So, those buttons can't be something that is relied on for general communication.  Mapping +, -, Ins or Del to them effectively means that +, -, Ins and Del are no longer available for general communication use since they're mapped to game functions.

    2.  They need to be something that is easily distinguishable and recognizable, but not present on any other keys.  Using + and  - fails to distinguish the two game buttons from the + and - buttons embedded in the keyboard itself.

    3.  They need to be something that can be easily pushed into game instructions and guides.  For the instances where » and « may not be present in the game's code page, >> and << could be used as easy ways to fake it.

    4. If these two buttons are going to have use beyond gaming buttons, then it needs to be a relatively obscure use outside of gaming, so that they're 'loss' during gaming isn't an issue. The odds of » and « needing to be used as actual symbols in-game is relatively nil. However they can still have some use in typing additional languages - out of game use.

    5. Double mapped keys are a bit of a waste. + and - need to live with = and _ respectively. Putting them on the game pad too makes little sense.

    6. » and « LOOK like game keys (rapid fire, strafe right, strafe left, etc...). The fact that they have a secondary function for language support is simply a bonus.

    7. If we use » and «, it gives the end user something readily identifiable that they can map to special functions, macros, etc. If those keys are a double-map of existing characters, they would loose those characters in both positions to map the activity of these two action buttons to -something else-.

    Insert and Delete are 'right' because they live next to PgUp, PgDn, Home and End on a 'normal' keybaord. They're wrong for game pad functions though, because they are highly useful in typed communications - which I hope will be a thing in Pyra game capabilities. Putting them on the game pad means they're 'lost' during game play and cannot be easily 'given up' for mapping to something else by the user.

    + and - on the game pad is duplicating + and - on the keyboard (waste of keys). It adds to confusion. "Whhich + do I press?" It hurts custom mapping - mapping + to 'grenade1' would mean loosing the ability to type the symbol +.

    So, instead of trying to find a very useful button to duplicate on the two 'extra' game pad keys, maybe it should be something NOT used for other normal activity, has symbols that fit in nicely, and have a bonus typing use for some people.

    English Pyra users will never need to know or care that » and « have any use outside of being keys on the game pad.

    Is » and « your only issue with this?

    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/dab270c443a45752b52ab6aceae452d0

    Is it 'the right point' for a compromise?

    This layout includes MANY inputs from MANY of the layout creators. It has more than adequate non-English language support. It works with DosBox (key pairs). Most keys have only 2 symbols printed on them, some have 3. Clutter is minimized and yet application is maximized.

    If we're going to try to reach a consensus or compromise, this layout should be at the top of many of your lists.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  15. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    Not all that many games need 6 face buttons though, and especially not the kind in which you type a lot.

    Edit: Also when playing an fps for instance, and I bind + to jump; When I press T to type, I can still use the + in the text.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
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  16. _wb_

    _wb_ Microbe Staff Member

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    We're trying to improve the Pandora here. The Pandora having no international support is not something that people consider to be an advantage, and it is not something that has to be repeated.

    Nobody is trying to support 800 languages. I just want to have support for the most common languages: English (UK, North America, 2nd language in most of the world), Spanish (Spain, most of Central and South America), French (France, 2nd language in lots of countries) and Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil). German would also be nice since that's where ED lives. So that is 4 or 5 languages to support. All it takes is some diacritics and çñé, and for German also üäöß.
     
  17. szr

    szr Member

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    There are terminal emulators that I've used where Ctrl+Ins is copy and Shift+Ins is paste and I've seen other programs use it similarly. There is also it's usage for switching between normal and overwrite modes in word processing type programs. I'm not sure if this is enough to warrant giving it a dedicated key (like in the layouts that have it, along with Del, on the two extra game buttons) though, at least traditionally, it usually is, even on some small netbook and android keyboards and certainly most laptop keyboards.
     
  18. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    Sorry, let's agree to disagree then.

    Adding a lot of keys I will never use is (for me at least) not an improvement.

    Basic support, fine. But cramming all that extra stuff in there is not something I would choose for. I would favor having 4 or 5 "empty" Fn positions for personal binds then.

    Clarity, ease of use and ergonomics are more important for me.
     
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  19. codifies

    codifies Very Active Member

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    Perhaps Sir would prefer a nice shiny ooh looook shiny iPhone...?

    Multilingual support is no hardship if done properly and for a pan European product basically essential (I suppose we'll have to let a few yanks own one too :p )
     
  20. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Hardcore Member

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    That's just plain old bullying what you're doing here! <_<
     
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