• You are not logged in.

    Q > ; > ' rotation

    • Started by snth
    • 3 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 24-Aug-2018
    • Posts: 12

    So I've noticed that punctuation characters seem to generally not be considered part of the optimisation process here and I found this old post by Shai that explains some of the reasons for this. However I think it might be worth treating '  differently as it is an integral part of standard English prose.

    I admit I started down this road because while coding I was picking up a lot of contention on my right pinky around strings in JSON and value assignments:


    ' " [ { + - = _ ; : } ] are all on the right pinky so that's a lot of same finger bigrams. Moving the ' to another position would be the easiest way to provide some relief. Coming from Dvorak the Q was a natural position to consider. Q > ; > ' is a simple rotation that achieves this. After trying this out I think it actually provides a number of benefits.

    Some benefits of this rotation are:

    • QU becomes a nice inward roll on the right hand (eg quick).

    • 't, 's, 'd and 're also become inward rolls on the left hand (eg don't, he's, she'd, we're).

    • Provides hand alternation in many programming languages where string quoting is likely to be mixed with other punctuation symbols (c='a'+'b').

    • :q also becomes an inward roll for vim users with using alternative ring-finger fingering on the Q.

    • O' is also no longer a same finger bigram which should help the Irish and their descendants.

    The AQ same finger bigram (eg aquarium) is replaced by OQ (soliloquy) but I would guess that these are both pretty rare and this is a neutral change.

    All characters stay on the same finger with Q and ' only swapping hands.

    I've been using this for a couple of days now and the most uncomfortable sequence I've found is 're and while it's not technically a same finger bigram, I find it a bit too close to hit comfortably but perhaps that will improve with practice.

    I know this is two additional switches from QWERTY but other than that I don't see much downside. Is there anything I am missing? While the benefit will be greatest for programmers, there still seem to be plenty of other benefits for normal English prose to make it worth considering.

    Last edited by snth (17-Aug-2019 06:29:44)
    • 0
    • Reputation: 111
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,708

    It's a very interesting thought! Let us know how it works out if you do try it out over time.

    I actually think it also has a slight aesthetic benefit: As you say, the apostrophe is almost a letter in actual usage, and moving the semicolon off the letter block in favor of an actual letter looks nice to me. Neat.

    Last edited by DreymaR (19-Aug-2019 14:18:14)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    • 0
    • Reputation: 20
    • From: Chicago
    • Registered: 27-Apr-2016
    • Posts: 214

    Sounds interesting. One more good point that there is no need for a new keycaps in Colevrak kits of custom keycaps sets because of this change, Q keeps the top row, ; in the middle row is available in qwerty, and ' in the top row is available in Dvorak.

    Last edited by ckofy (20-Aug-2019 16:28:44)
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 19-Sep-2019
    • Posts: 1

    snth, did you consider only swapping q and ; instead ? It seems to achieve the same results by only changing two keys. I myself am on tarmak atm, but already thinking about the idea of moving ' and ; to different hands. So I wonder if there's any reason to move all three?

    • 0