Emacs Keyboard Design 26c: The More Things Change

Agile keyboard design rocks. You slowly whittle away at the thousands of options that you think you want. You slowly whittle away at the hundreds of features that you need. You slowly whittle away at reality and cost. You eventually end up with what you didn’t know that you needed.

Emacs users want and need a keyboard that

  • Is available everywhere
  • Is inexpensive
  • Is supported first class on Linux, OS X, and Windows
  • Is familiar
    • Everybody learned on an ANSI 104 keyboard and knows it well
      • Leverage this
        • Good for sales as “just another keyboard”
  • Refinements and preference are
  • Make it easy to track changes

keyboard-layout-26c.png

  • Go to http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/
  • Start with Present ANSI 104
  • Note the difference in the staggering size between the rows
    • They are inconsistent
    • That is probably OK
    • So ignore it
    • Leave it alone keep it familiar
    • Never change the staggering
  • Focus is on Emacs users
    • Want to accomodate all others users if it keeps thing simple
      • VI
      • OS X, Windows, Linux (media keys)
  • Add F13-F24
  • Make F1-F9 number formatted
  • Leave num pad and arrow key column alone, they are staying
  • Label the space, it is 6W
  • Add 6W Enter after space and blank the existing
    • So frequently used, needs to be TIM
  • Move caps lock up above Esc and blank existing
  • Rename Win to Gui
  • Delete Menu, not portable
  • Shift is frequent yet weak, move to power bar area
    • Feels like a natural reach anyway
  • Shift is no Hyper
  • Aesthetics matter
    • They did for the ANSI 104 so follow that
  • Justification
    • Super and Hyper are really big keys and easy to crab-claw
    • Modifier and navigator are easy thumb keys
    • Everything else is the same
  • No chording, no moding, not changing, no training, just simple
  • Slid the modifier/navigation panel over for use and aesthetics
  • C,M is for Emacs familiarty, A is for OS commmon usag
  • Shift is near enter for frequency of use
  • Gui is there because it must be
  • CAS is there because it is powerful, and worth adding, and looks OK
    • The only key added, no Fn, no nothing else
  • Moved arrow keys, numpad, navigation keys down one entier row
  • Feel like every attempt involves some customizations just for the sake of…?
  • This is keyboard 26a

keyboard-layout-26a.png

  • Removed the numpad, I never use it ever
  • This is keyboard 26b

keyboard-layout-26b.png

  • This layout “feels right” and “familiar” to a typical Dell keyboard, yet makes a modifiers and navigators easier.
  • Perhaps CAS should go away and Fn should come back?
    • Easy to hit CAS with T-I-Ring
      • Con is that it will always be two hand chords
        • That doesn’t bother me too much
        • Fn looks better
    • Would get rid of arrow keys and navigation cluster
      • Lay them out for lefties and righties
  • PauseBreak and ScrollLock can be removed
    • They are never used
  • Put Functions keys in front
    • Lets me stick with default ANSI letter placement
      • Save money on caps
  • Delete key
    • Even though it is two fingers, position is great
  • Still good about
    • OS agnostic
    • No media keys
    • Compact
    • Power center for modifiers and navation
    • Everything else remains precisely the same
  • Nothing else is configured here
    • No caps
    • No switches
    • No nothing
  • This is keyboard 26c
  • This seems to make sense