Pchr8board (third update to the Dvorak Mirrorboard layout)

Pchr8board

Now playing: Машингвери, штурмгевери

Hi!

You might remember the last two posts about the Dvorak Mirrorboard layout. Well, I’ve updated it for the third time, and it’s gotten different enough that I think I can call it Pchr8board, just to have a better name and to reflect the fact that it’s made for my own personal use and not as some kind of general-purpose layout, though it could be a nice starting point for further changes.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pchr8board:

2017-11-10-184406_617x367_scrot

Keys without a legend have the same letters attached.

Otherwise, this is how you read the picture above:

key_with_explanations

The layout uses left alt as a Latch key, that, when pressed with left thumb, switches the letters to their corresponding right-hand letters, as per original Mirrorboard, but for Dvorak.

Other important changed keys are highlighted.

  • Enter and BackSpace are on the Tilde (“~”) key.
  • The Tab key allows to type forward slashes (“/”), mostly for searching, and diaereses (ümläüts) on the letter immediately following Shift+Latch+Tab (awkward at first, but not more so than the typical compose key approach).

The layout is usable as a typical Dvorak one, and I wanted to add a couple of more keys that I miss. For the right hand, there are:

  • Direction keys on the Latch+”htnc”, which are the base keys for the right hand
  • A Backspace key on Latch+r

I sorely needed both of those, since they required too much movement in a traditional layout. What’s also nice is that all the keyboard shortcuts still work, that is for the OS it doesn’t make much difference. Selecting words word-by-word using Ctrl+Shift+right_arrow as Ctrl+Shift+Latch+n still works, for example. In practice such chords are much less complicated and easier to get used to than they seem. Honest.

At first, I wanted to add the arrow keys to the left hand, but didn’t find a not-awkward way to do this. Next version, maybe. Another logical change would have been using hljk or someting, since this is what I use for my i3wm shortcuts, but, again, I think keeping it classic in this aspect would be more beneficial.

Installation instructions:

  • Copy to your key definitions folder (usually /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/)
  • Either just setxkbmap left3 or integrate it in whatever you are using (e.g. setxkbmap -option 'grp:rshift_toggle, compose:rctrl' left3,ru,ua)
  • In case you want to edit it, copy it every time to a new name. The layout gets cached to the DE, and for it to read the new changes you would have to reload X, unless it’s a new file. Or just during editing do xkbcomp mirrorboard.xkb $DISPLAY 2>/dev/null as recommended in the original post, maybe removing the last part to see any errors.

The layout is on Github.

Source:

The following resources helped me:

(Y)

-SH.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *