• You are not logged in.

    SavetierX ⋅ Transformed Colemak xkb-layout f. central Europ. languages

    • Started by savetier
    • 10 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Slovakia
    • Registered: 27-Nov-2020
    • Posts: 5

    A transformed Colemak xkb-layout, for central European languages

    From the alternative keyboard layouts my favourite is Colemak. However, it has its flaws for central and eastern European languages which I intent to fix with the SavetierX layout. This layout is very suitable for polyglots, linguists, language enthusiasts, Slavs, Slavists, Magyars, Romanians, and many more! SavetierX is a compromise between usability, adaptability, ergonomy, and comfort.

    The basic ideas:

    • The German layout provides the Umlauts which are also used in other languages, like Hungarian, Turkish, or Swedish. That's why I have chosen the German keyboard layout as a basis.

    • I wanted to include as many central and eastern European languages as possible. With this layout you should be able to write flawlessly in German, English, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrine, Romanian, and Turkish without switching.

    • I wanted to keep the main keyboard-shortcuts at their place. A problem I see with Colemak is that e.g. CTRL+S (save) is at a different place (it kept cut/copy/paste, gladly). This could lead to a catastrophe if you have to often switch between QWERTZ and Colemak. For that reason I wanted to keep CTRL+A/S/X/C/V/Q/W as they were in QWERTZ, and bring CTRL+F/P/Z/T within the closer reach of your left hand (like it is in Colemak already).

    • As a passionate gamer I wanted to keep W, A, S, D (for directions) at their place.

    TIP for German speakers: With 'autokey-gtk' you can transform the 105th key (if you have got it) into a 'sch'-key. Makes life a lot easier!

    And this is the result so far:

    savetier_keyb_layout_level1.png

    Level 3+4:
    savetier_keyb_layout_level3+4.png

    SavetierX vs. Colemak:
    savetier-colemak-compare.png


    GET IT HERE:
    savetierX-keyboard-layout

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 148
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,992

    I think you're overdoing it! By adding everything on AltGr, you'll end up with many unintuitive placings like ćĆ on the comma key instead of on cC – or nj up on the number row! And I have no idea what happened to bring ⅞ into the mix...   ̄(=⌒ᆺ⌒=) ̄

    I think it's a lot better to do like I do: Make one variant for your main language, then add dead keys with everything that doesn't fit logically on the AltGr layer.

    As you say yourself: Savetier-X is a compromise. In fact, it's a bunch of compromises because you try to do everything at once.

    With standard Colemak or my Colemak-eD you could already write all the letters you mention. Certainly with Colemak-ed using the EPKL program!

    Using EPKL to get a layout, you don't have to use any additional programs for tricks like the 'sch' mapping. In EPKL, you could get that with '→sch' on any mapping.

    And I think you've hurt your layout by keeping WASD in place. That spoils the typing efficiency of Colemak, since the layout was meticulously designed to get good bigrams etc. If it had been possible to keep even S in place without spoiling the efficiency of Colemak, Shai would've done so. In fact, he did at first but then abandoned it.

    Finally, your layout is unergonomical in not addressing the wrist angle for the left-hand lower row. Consider using an Angle mod to fix this problem.

    Last edited by DreymaR (27-Nov-2020 14:12:22)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Slovakia
    • Registered: 27-Nov-2020
    • Posts: 5

    Thanks, DreymaR, for your input. As I said, it is a compromise. I didn't intent to replace or compete against Colemak, it is perfect as it is. My main focus is not efficiency like for Shai, but the compatibility for QWERTZ-users or for those that have to use QWERTZ at work etc. SavetierX is far from perfect but maybe some like it or are inspired by it.

    The all-at-once approach is on purpose. Most of these characters I am using every day, so I wanted to avoid "building" the diacritica with dead keys. Once you've acquired the knowledge where each character is, it is actually quite easy to use. The 7/8 is a remnant from the QWERTZ-layout, it will go away, once I know which character to replace it with ;)

    I had a look at your EPKL program, it looks great. However, as it only has a Windows-version, I cannot use it (Linux). EDIT: I was wrong, I will check it out! ;)

    The WASD had to be because in some older games one cannot change the keys for directions.

    Finally, your layout is unergonomical in not addressing the wrist angle for the left-hand lower row. Consider using an Angle mod to fix this problem.

    Here I don't understand exactly what you mean, the last row is basically the same as in Colemak.

    Last edited by savetier (27-Nov-2020 15:13:04)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 20
    • From: Belgium
    • Registered: 26-Feb-2008
    • Posts: 468

    Are those lj/nj/dz/dž digraph characters actually used in practice?  Unicode recommends against using them, they were only added for round-trip compatibility with legacy character encodings.

    Although they form a single letter in several languages you mentioned, I think formally they should be written using two characters.
    (Otherwise it screws byte-for-byte searching/string-matching in non-Unicode-aware applications.)

    Edit: Slovene/Serbian/etc Latin keyboard layout doesn't have these digraph characters either.  (Only the Cyrillic counterparts љ/њ/ѕ/џ are actual single characters.)

    Last edited by ghen (27-Nov-2020 17:03:24)
    Offline
    • 1
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Slovakia
    • Registered: 27-Nov-2020
    • Posts: 5
    ghen said:

    Are those Lj/Nj/Dz/Dž digraph characters actually used in practice?  Unicode recommends against using them, they were only added for round-trip compatibility with legacy character encodings.

    Although they form a single letter in several languages you mentioned, I think formally they should be written using two characters.
    (Otherwise it screws byte-for-byte searching/string-matching in non-Unicode-aware applications.)

    In Gaj's latin alphabet lj, nj, dž, dz are represented by a single letter. However, they are not often used as such, as most keyboards don't represent them. So it is rather a question of laziness :P

    Here's an excerpt from the Wiki page on dž:

    In Gaj's Latin alphabet (used for Serbo-Croatian), when the text is written vertically rather than horizontally (on signs, for instance), dž is written horizontally as a single letter; in particular, dž occupies a single square in crossword puzzles. Also, in cases where words are written with a space between each letter, dž is written together without a space between d and ž. These characteristics are also shared by Lj and Nj. Similarly, when a name beginning with Dž is reduced to initial, the entire letter is initial, not just D. For example, Dženan Ljubović becomes Dž. Lj. and not D. L. This behaviour is not the case in Slovak, where it is split into D/d and Ž/ž.

    Linguists and slavists would definitely use the digraphs, if available. It makes sense, as the above mentioned digraphs are represented by single letters in the cyrillic azbuka. Writing them with two letters actually breaks Gaj's logic: "One sound, one letter".

    I see the problem for the search you mentioned, though.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 20
    • From: Belgium
    • Registered: 26-Feb-2008
    • Posts: 468

    A single letter is not the same as a single character though.  For example, until recently LL was a single letter in Spanish (largely corresponding to lj/љ btw), but there has never been a single character for it.  It requires two keystrokes.

    In my language Dutch (Flemish), "ij" is sometimes considered a single letter as well (more so in the Nederlands than in Belgium), and forms one unit in vertical text like you mentioned.  But nobody uses the Unicode "ij" digraph character, even though it exists.

    The Unicode digraphs are there only for historic compatibility reasons (Unicode wanted text converted from-and-back-into a legacy encoding to be identical to the original), and are not intended for use in new texts.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 84
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 830

    I don't see the point of preserving WASD for gaming. It's not like those are the only keys, games often usually other keys around that area for things too, so you'd still need to remap stuff. If it's a major problem, just revert to Qwerty for gaming. Also some games seem to correctly detect your layout and Just Work.

    The biggest problem is R. It's too common a key to be in the centre column, plus it's a letter than readily forms common pairs with other letters, RT/TR, RG, PR, etc. I think this layout is a recipe for difficult left-index-finger gymnastics.

    Last edited by stevep99 (27-Nov-2020 18:05:43)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Slovakia
    • Registered: 27-Nov-2020
    • Posts: 5
    ghen said:

    Edit: Slovene/Serbian/etc Latin keyboard layout doesn't have these digraph characters either.  (Only the Cyrillic counterparts љ/њ/ѕ/џ are actual single characters.)

    I know. That's exactly the point why I'd like to keep them there, may it be only for linguistic purposes and slavists.

    Slovene, which uses a simplified Gaj's alphabet, doesn't use these digraphs at all. Gaj's latin alphabet is used for Serbo-Croatian (BCMS) and latinized Macedonian.

    ghen said:

    A single letter is not the same as a single character though.

    I get your point. But as there was still space for them, I see no reason to not have them on an "all-slavic" layout, the typer has still the freedom to choose whether to use d+ž or dž :-)

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Slovakia
    • Registered: 27-Nov-2020
    • Posts: 5
    stevep99 said:

    I don't see the point of preserving WASD for gaming. It's not like those are the only keys, games often usually other keys around that area for things too, so you'd still need to remap stuff. If it's a major problem, just revert to Qwerty for gaming. Also some games seem to correctly detect your layout and Just Work.

    The biggest problem is R. It's too common a key to be in the centre column, plus it's a letter than readily forms common pairs with other letters, RT/TR, RG, PR, etc. I think this layout is a recipe for difficult left-index-finger gymnastics.

    Point taken. Thanks!

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 148
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,992
    savetier said:

    As I said, it is a compromise. I didn't intent to replace or compete against Colemak, it is perfect as it is. My main focus is not efficiency like for Shai, but the compatibility for QWERTZ-users or for those that have to use QWERTZ at work etc. SavetierX is far from perfect but maybe some like it or are inspired by it.

    The all-at-once approach is on purpose. Most of these characters I am using every day, so I wanted to avoid "building" the diacritica with dead keys. Once you've acquired the knowledge where each character is, it is actually quite easy to use.

    The thing is, I started out with a Colemak variant in principle very much like yours back in 2007–2008 or so! But since then I've changed my tack. Using dead keys I can have room for so much more glyphs and they can generally be in more intuitive places. Unless you want a layout only for yourself I believe that's the way to go. It's easy for me to remember where I put an accent dead key but it'd be harder to learn and remember where every accented letter for that accent is. Plus, with the dead keys I can also overload them: On the acute accent DK there are also superscript-related glyphs, and on the grave accent there are subscript-related glyphs etc! And I can link dead keys, for instance by combining the slash and maths dead keys I can turn the ≡ into a ≢.  ( のvの) c[_]

    I uphold that one should use a variant suited for one's main language. For the times I write another language I find that Colemak-eD support them quite comfortably although I wouldn't want to write long passages that way. Hitting AltGr+' (for acute) or AltGr+; (for umlaut) is nearly as comfortable to me as hitting AltGr alone. One thing that helps comfort is that you can let go of AltGr before hitting the letter you want. To type capitalized letters it's certainly more comfy than full-chording, especially when combined with a sticky Shift modifier. I'd imagine that typing, say, Ș/Ț gets a bit stretchy on your layout? For me, I have to stretch a little for AltGr+8 but then it's a matter of tapping Shift then s/t.

    Finally, your layout is unergonomical in not addressing the wrist angle for the left-hand lower row. Consider using an Angle mod to fix this problem.

    Here I don't understand exactly what you mean, the last row is basically the same as in Colemak.

    Yes, I know. There was a discussion about making the Angle mod a standard for ISO keyboards but it stranded. I'd still recommend it heartily! Keeping your left wrist straight while typing is a lot more comfy, and using the index finger for C is not good for the bigram stats. See the BigBag link in my signature if you're unsure what the ergo mods are.

    Last edited by DreymaR (28-Nov-2020 17:13:45)

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

    Online
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 19-Sep-2020
    • Posts: 11
    savetier said:

    A transformed Colemak xkb-layout, for central European languages

    From the alternative keyboard layouts my favourite is Colemak. However, it has its flaws for central and eastern European languages which I intent to fix with the SavetierX layout. This layout is very suitable for polyglots, linguists, language enthusiasts, Slavs, Slavists, Magyars, Romanians, and many more! SavetierX is a compromise between usability, adaptability, ergonomy, and comfort.

    Hey savetier, I like your keyboard it. EurKEY Colemak-DH follows a similar idea. There was also a discussion about sense and non-sense of this layout, so I can understand you and that it could be very helpfull for some. I don't know the Polyglot community, but I think you should post your layout in a forum there, they could be really happy with it!


    I don't now how flexible you still are with your layout, but if you just add æ, œ, «, » to it you could also write french or just by adding ¡ and ¿ you could write spanish or by æ and ø you have danish and norwegian. And I also know that these countries are not central Europe anymore but think about it ;)

    Multilingual and sick of changing keyboard layouts?
    Give EurKEY Colemak-DH a try! Could be the solution for your European languages.

    Offline
    • 0