Monday, December 22, 2008

Directions to Keyboard Heck

Have you ever wondered where Keyboard Heck is to be found?

I think I just took the short-cut. So to speak.

I use the two-handed Dvorak keyboard layout because I like it:

I also use a MacBook Pro because I like it.

This week-end, I upgraded my OS X to version 10.5.6, because Apple told me it was a good idea.

Well, now text editing in the Eclipse workbench has gone all to pieces.

What has happened is that the following Mac-standard keystrokes still work as expected:
  • Command-Q to quit
  • Command-, for preferences
  • Command-W to close window (which closes the internal editor in Eclipse)
  • Command-S to save
but most others require combining the Command key with the letter key where it would appear on a Qwerty keyboard:
  • Command-; to undo (Dv ; is where Qw Z is)
  • Command-R for an outline (Dv R == Qw O)
  • Command-Shift-U to format (Dv U == Qw F)
  • Command-J to copy (Dv J == Qw C)
  • Command-K to paste (Dv K == Qw V)
The most frustrating point is that to cut (Command-X) I actually would have to hit Command-Q because the Dvorak Q is where the Qwerty X is, but Command-Q "works" in the Dvorak layout and closes my workbench! I have to do Command-J to copy, then delete, then Command-K somewhere else to paste.

I mustn't be as smart as Pavlov's dog, because I still find myself closing my workbench occasionally despite that it isn't the natural keystroke on this keyboard!

My next step was, when last I posted this message, to try this out on the Cocoa port of SWT.  Well, it turns out that the Cocoa port does not have this problem.  Keys all work like the rest of my Cocoa apps.  The new problem is that Eclipse doesn't run, yet, with the Cocoa SWT.  It crashed the first time I tried to save a Java editor and now it crashes before I can begin working with any editor, on every launch.  That's no better than hitting Command-Q to cut  ;-)


Tomasz said...

And this is one of the reasons why I still stick to the old, slow QWERTY layout. :) (Another one being that I'm just unable to make myself touch-type on Dvorak any faster than my handwriting).

Nevertheless, programmers would probably use a programming-specific Dvorak dialect with some interpunction rearranged (single-fingered parentheses wouldn't hurt, for example swapped with "[]" brackets). A single-fingered "->" also would come in handy for us C++ developers, but this can usually be macroed without many problems. :)

Ed Merks said...

I remember many years ago considering learning a keyboard layout designed to make you type faster rather than one designed so as to place keys likely to be used in sequence as far apart as possible. But then I remembered my woodworking class where the teacher explained that you have to sand with the grain, not across the grain, or you will leave scratches. Somehow that seemed relevant...

Kevin said...

Cocoa may still be your quickest path to success because fixes to SWT can be made fairly quickly. Be sure to file a bug report for your crash and we'll do our best to get you running asap.

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