Monday, June 13, 2011

A Big Success

I am typing from my onscreen keyboard!
Over the past week I have transformed the little black box on the corner of my screen into an improved keyboard. Some things I changed were the CSS style of the keys/keyboard, the ability to hide the keyboard in the message tray, and a formula that fits the keys to your screen no matter what the orientation of the screen.

Dan has suggested that I make the keys look more square, but I'm not sure if that will detract from the keyboard (there will need to be giant paddings horizontally or vertically depending on the screen orientation). Not sure what I'm going to do about that yet.
My favorite accomplishment of the week is the little keyboard button on the bottom right hand of the keyboard. Click it and whoosh!  
The keyboard goes into the message tray and lets me work in full screen mode.
So, it seems that this week will be full of many little things TODO. I will be working on the "floating" layout, extending the subkey functionality (for iPhone users: click, wait, move, release on subkeys), and possibly merging some Caribou code. Today I've only had time to do a ton of little fixes to my code to make it look more like the rest of the GNOME shell, but I'm excited for tomorrow and that which will come.

Until then,


  1. Great job! In my opinion, your keyboard looks really good. I also like the keys just as they look in previews.
    Keep working on it :-)

  2. Please do not make the keyboard much taller. I adore how little vertical space it currently takes :D

  3. This looks amazing. A decent virtual keyboard is the icing on the cake

  4. Sweet! as for the horizontal space I'm sure you can find buttons to put there ;)

  5. Does the keyboard pop out again automatically when you touch a text field?

    Do you have any means of supporting context-sensitive layouts based on hints from applications?

  6. This is awesome. I'm one step closer to wanting a WeTab really badly just to put this on it. XD Elegant design- I can see the keys being a TINY bit more square, but this seems fairly consistent with the rest of the interface, already.

    Anyway, good work- I look forward to using it.

  7. @Josh: all gtk applications have support for input methods (for accessibility and internationalisation purposes); the VKB can install an input method and have any gtk application signal the shell to raise the VKB after tapping on a text entry widget and use it for input. I'm pretty sure that Qt has a similar mechanism. for other toolkits there's still the manual fall back of tapping an icon in the message area.

  8. @Josh, at the moment the keyboard is hidden in the message tray and clicking on it brings it back into view. I don't think this will be the final implementation, so I'll add your idea to the list. Thanks!

  9. Oh I forgot to ask. Will this be GNOME Shell specific? Also, can I blog about it :>? *twiddles fingers*

  10. Well, my project is GNOME shell specific, however, the Caribou libraries that we're using to implement the keyboard can be applied to other projects as well :). Sure, you can blog about it!