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    Developing an 'Extend' layer for the Katana60

    • Started by rominronin
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    • From: Vienna
    • Registered: 09-Apr-2017
    • Posts: 9

    Katana60 - the 60% compatible ergonomic layout I've been developing for a while now - will soon be available to buy. Although I have a default layout - which can be found here - I'd like to make further improvements. I'm starting this thread in the hope that others can contribute to the goal, in particular I'd like to adopt some ideas from DreymaR's bag of tricks.

    Add your suggestions, comments, ideas - both on the Katana60 and possible layouts.

    Let's see how this goes!

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    That looks like a good position for the Extend key, which should be easily accessible with the left thumb.

    But apart from that, the actual mappings don't seem to give you much benefit: some easier symbols like ! and $, and the number row is slightly nearer. But that's small potatoes compared to what Extend can give you.

    IMO the key to unlocking the wonderfulness of Extend is navigation. That means you need arrow keys on the right, probably on IJKL. Also probably shift and control as modifiers on the left-hand home keys, as per DreymaR's mappings. Maybe you could use that central shift with your right thumb in conjunction with Extend but it might be a bit of a stretch. I'd probably have Shift on one of those two command keys. Shift is so frequent that it needs a good location, and this keyboard with it's excellent bottom row is perfect for an improved Shift.

    I'd definitely go for something much closer to DreymaR's. Or you could take a look at my Extend layer which is similiar.

    Last edited by stevep99 (10-Nov-2017 11:47:41)

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Read my Extend post closely; it explains why those mappings work so well. :-)

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    Here's an updated variation that I'll start to use (as soon as my PCB arrives):
    Link to layouts (because I can't embed imgur images)

    I've been using the space bar as a layer switch when held down (there is a small delay before the layer kicks in, which although very short, takes some getting used to. It's fine once you're there!). I borrowed this idea from the TextBlade (will it EVER see the light of day?) layout, that keyboard only has 3 rows of keys plus the space bar, so it makes sense to place numbers and symbols on an easy-to-reach home row layer. Much as I like it, I appreciate the added row for numbers and even the arrow keys.

    An alternative arrow key arrangement which I've already used (and really like) is as follows:

    Link to alternative arrow keys

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    You can link to Imgur images?

    On Imgur, right-click the image and select 'copy image location'. Then paste that URL in img tags here. Works for me!

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/t7wkQHF.png[/img]

    t7wkQHF.png

    Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2017 10:42:14)

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    Sorry, but your layers look nearly as bad as the other bad layers around at a first glance. ;-)

    • The lack of home row Extend Alt/Ctrl/Shift keys means you lose the powerful combos of true Extend.
    • For instance, I have Home/End where you have your Next/Prev Word keys.
        – Not sure how you did those, Ctrl+Right/Left mapped to the L/Y keys?
        – Well, I press Ext+S+T+N for Select Previous Word and how do you plan to do that without leaving the home row? ;-)
        – Similarly, End of File is Ext+T+Y. It's one more key press than your dedicated button, but simpler to remember and more open to combos.

    • Multimedia keys aren't used that often, so they don't quite deserve to be smack dab in the middle of things? Well, with multiple layers it's okay I guess.
    • Key mousing doesn't work well enough for a central placement in my opinion. What does work well is WheelUp/Down (scrolling) and MouseButton1/2.
    • Whether to use a number row like yours or a NumPad like mine is a matter of preference I guess. The NumPad could be very fast and comfy, but takes some training.

    As to your alternative arrow key placement, it really shouldn't matter much as I hardly ever use the physical arrow keys any more. It's Extend arrows (plus Ctrl, Shift etc) all the way except when I use only one hand! I do, however, strongly recommend your alternative setup as separating the /? key from the others is a bad thing!

    Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2017 10:58:52)

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    • From: Vienna
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    Great feedback DreymaR, exactly the kind of detail I hoped I would get, thanks man!

    Not sure how you did those, Ctrl+Right/Left mapped to the L/Y keys?

    I'm a MacOS user, option + left or right will move the cursor to the start of the previous word or the end of the next word. Using QMK, I have bound these to Extend - L and Y (I'm pretty sure there is a Windows equivalent - ctrl perhaps? Am I right?).
    By holding Extend - shift - L or Y, I can select the previous/next word respectively - so selection is perfectly achievable.

    Multimedia keys aren't used that often, so they don't quite deserve to be smack dab in the middle of things? Well, with multiple layers it's okay I guess.

    That's right - I use the multimedia keys often enough that I want them on the default layer - this is a feature I miss from years of using an Apple 65% board. The default keycaps for those positions are from the navigation cluster:

    0thji3C.jpg

    so perhaps it is better to keep those as THE default for most users (and move multimedia keys to the extend and/or function layer). I can't help but think that the added navigation options around the right hand on the Extend layer means they aren't need as dedicated buttons any more? I guess this part is down to preference.

    Key mousing doesn't work well enough for a central placement in my opinion

    I totally agree - Unless there is a trackpoint or similarly responsive input device, I think the qmk implementation of mouse movement is shaky at best.

    Whether to use a number row like yours or a NumPad like mine is a matter of preference I guess. The NumPad could be very fast and comfy, but takes some training.

    Actually, I have considered adding a num lock toggle button for this purpose! The ideal position imo would be the back-slash key (between the 5 and 6 on the number row) - of course a back light to indicate that it's on would be ideal, but maybe that's something for the second revision of the PCB?

    I do, however, strongly recommend your alternative setup as separating the /? key from the others is a bad thing!

    Personally, I agree. This arrangement reflects a common trend in the popular keyboard layouts over at reddit.com/r/mechanicalkeyboards, so I wanted to include it as an option. I'd like to try it out before I give up on it though ;)

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    So it turns out that by using the middle button on the top row as 'num lock' key, there is a beautiful alignment of the 2u '0 Ins' key on the number pad layer:
    nH0vu9N.png

    I had to move the '\ |' key from it's usual far right position to the far left, where the tab usually resides.

    OOj2jiU.png

    I also rearranged the left hand extend keys to reflect what I've been using for a while (since I can't imaging the mouse keys bing that useful).

    znsUode.png

    I like the way this is coming together already, especially since I can use more keycaps with existing legends!

    Last edited by rominronin (14-Nov-2017 21:47:44)
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    I see that you're still not sold on the power of modifier combos. So be it, maybe. For yourself, you may find it easy enough to remember where you put all those different keys for selecting whole words and passages and whatnot. And you may not need to have as much in one layer as I do in my Extend layer so using up a bunch of keys for these functions may not be an issue for you.

    I tend to try and see the bigger picture in which others have to learn my layouts too. And in this case, having home row Shift and Control combos with the Extend keys is invaluable. Not only will it allow the user to select the next paragraph (Ext+S+T+Y for Shift+Ctrl+End) without having to remember where the key for that is, but it will train combos that may be used on non-Extend boards too – although far less ergonomically of course.

    I agree that for instance Ext+J/K as PgUp/PgDn and Ext+L/Y as Home/End pretty much buries the need for physical nav keys in the middle. Not entirely sure what would be good on those. I think your setup with Home/End on top of each other looks bad but that may be only because I'm so used to having them horizontally stacked. To me it makes much more sense, as their default mode is going to the left/right of the line! Again, I find their Extend placement pretty much perfect. They're way more useful than many realize I think.

    To reiterate my argument: I firmly believe that in an editing situation the true power of Extend lies in having the needed navigation and editing tools very near your home position! Arrows, Back/Del and Home/End are crucial, and PgUp/PgDn nice. These are multiplied tenfold in utility by the Shift and Ctrl keys also on the home position. This is the core of true Extend power, that has escaped most makers of Fn layers I've seen.

    Last edited by DreymaR (15-Nov-2017 11:08:53)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    I SEE it now, having shift on the home row is a big deal, and I would need to check the MacOS equivalents for certain shortcuts, since I already have all the ones you used in your BoT.

    In fact, by removing many of the mouse functions I have made room for additional navigation shortcuts (which means I may not need the 'ctrl' oh the home row - though for Windows compatibility its better to keep it in).

    Also, I quite like the idea of extend + ; being the 'backspace' key, but rather than extend + p being 'delete', I would move that down to / instead, since I feel curling the pinkie in is better than stretching it out. This is where you have the 'cmp' button on your navigation layer. What does that do exactly?

    I just built my first Katana60 board (that wasn't a prototype) and will build the actual QMK firmware tonight/tomorrow. I'll get a chance to actually use some of the new paradigms then...

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