One of these days you'll want to stand back, as I am working to ARM myself with another Surface RT!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/04/17 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Matthew Slyman has become quite the Blog commenter recently, giving Yuhong Bao a run for his money!

Some of his recent comments from The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 4 (working beyond one's bugs, and the case for an MSKLC update):


> "The trouble is that it only can save what it can read; and making it able to read them is complicated...."

So, read them as a plain string, and write them as a plain string. Beginners won't notice the dummy "functionality" is there. And advanced users (who will have put those annotations there on purpose) won't curse MSKLC for stripping them out!

At least, one might have an option in a MSKLC v1.4b, to NOT strip out the extra chained dead key information?

@MichaelKaplan: Will you put me in touch with Frank Griesshammer please? I've been looking for ways to bridge the gap between .KLC and Apple's XML-based format (that I haven't studied much yet). I'm developing a range of new keyboard layouts that I hope to propose/promote as a new international standard. (Perhaps naive of me, but what would the world be like without crazy people like me?)

Hey, cool link, an oldie but a goodie from XKCD:


 Now I myself am a conscientious objector to the creeping normativity that this XKCD comic implies.

Plus I don't work for Adobe, so Frank Griesshammer is largely beyond my reach or my sphere of influence....:-)

Though I am working on a 1.5 MSKLC update that just might take a swing at solving some of these problems!

Matthew also posted a contribution over in the Suggestion Box:

I'm developing a family of US-DVORAK-based keyboard layouts that include comprehensive extra sets of diacritics, accents, scientific and mathematical symbols via dead-keys. The end result I want is a 100%-key-compatible drop-in-replacement for the built-in US-Dvorak layout, which merely contains extra features that existing Dvorak layout users can graduate into. Also, based on the excellent prior keyboard-layout work of Scott Horne; I'm further developing a range of such layouts for LATIN, GREEK, CYRILLIC etc.; including archaic versions of these scripts (with approximate phonetic equivalence between all of these, to aid language-learning, multilingualism, and to promote Dvorak layouts which are pragmatically better).

I'm nearly there with my LATIN-script Dvorak layout, and the results are mostly fantastic! In my zeal for usability-testing my own work, I've moved the key-caps on my keyboard after first trying stickers... I'm very pleased with almost everything so far...

Only... ONE blocker issue if I want the end-result to be user-friendly... I'm using Windows 8 Pro. In previous versions of MS Windows, I had problems with inconsistent treatment of keyboard shortcuts between different application programs (especially in MS Word) when using the US Dvorak layout, or when trying to force Windows to recognize my alternative CTRL-[?] shortcut mappings via MSKLC.

I NEED YOUR HELP... Before I complain/ ask for help, I must THANK Microsoft for the noteworthy improvements that have been made to language/layout selection ergonomics in Windows 8. I'm really impressed with the changes. Windows 8, quite rightly, labels the keyboard layouts according to whether they're broadly based on QWERTY, AZERTY, Dvorak, etc. The keyboard shortcut mappings (CTRL-C, CTRL-V etc.) generally follow the pattern belonging to the keyboard layout family (so that CTRL-C is for COPY even if you're using Dvorak, which I couldn't get to work in Windows 7 etc.) Unfortunately, I cannot work out how to label or meta-tag my own custom-generated keyboard layouts, to let Windows 8 know that my custom layouts are based on Dvorak! Besides MSKLC, I've tried KbdEdit Premium; with similar results for this particular feature: In the Windows 8 language/layout popup/control panel widget, my layouts are simply listed as "Keyboard", rather than listed as belonging to any particular family (QWERTY, AZERTY, Dvorak etc.) Even the author of "KbdEdit" has looked into this and cannot yet figure out how to meta-tag my layouts! Will you help please? How can I meta-tag my custom layouts to let Windows 8 know that I want to use the Dvorak-based keyboard shortcut mappings?

I'm not sure whether MSKLC 1.5 will be able to do much in that vein, though.

Although I formally requested that the owners of the >= Windows 8 optimized keyboard layouts give me a way to access, modify, and author them, the folks in Ireland didn't seem especially interested in helping me on that effort.

Though they do still owe me a guest blog about the optimized layouts, an obligation that came out of a problem covered in a series of blogs:

Perhaps I can horse trade here a bit, what with their serious though as far as I know unwitting insult to the Cherokee Nation, and the fact that they never got around to writing that guest blog! :-)

Oh well, at least we still have the On Screen Keyboard (OSK):

On-Screen Keyboard

which as I noted before is still quite stretchable:

Very big On-Screen Keyboard

I think I need to have a chat with some people in Ireland now, in preparation for my MSKLC 1.5 Passion Project described previously in Developing for a jailbroken Surface RT -- dare I disturb the universe?, That MSKLC with a jailbroken Surface RT thing? I dared to disturb the universe, and...,, 2nd amendment issues don't apply; I'm not ARMed!, and of course the earlier What I'd do with my 'Microsoft 20% time'.

I guess this might be a good time to start getting busy!

Matthew Slyman on 17 Apr 2013 9:38 AM:

THE PROTOTYPE IS NOW AVAILABLE HERE!!! Sorry for the CAPS but can't contain my excitement...

I've fixed the shortcuts (bringing them into line with the built-in US Dvorak layout), using advice from another of your blog posts (more details later).

Michael S. Kaplan on 17 Apr 2013 10:49 AM:

Feel free to send it to me in email if you want me to think about making it into a blog...

michkap {at}

Azarien on 18 Apr 2013 11:56 AM:

Some scripts (cherokee, cyrillic, greek) use identical or very similar characters to latin script. This may cause confusion (especially so in the case of Cherokee). Couldn't the On-Screen Keyboard use different colors for latin and cherokee letters?

Matthew Slyman on 22 Apr 2013 8:50 AM:

Mr. Kaplan has given me some constructive feedback on my keyboard layout in relation to MSKLC validation warnings, which I am working to incorporate into the design.

@Azerian: that's an interesting idea, I can see how that might be useful for other applications, such as display of international characters on the address bar of a web browser, to help prevent phishing attacks using similar-looking domains.

Matthew Slyman on 9 May 2013 8:22 AM:

OK, the hyperlink in my first comment here now downloads an error-free version of the keyboard layout!

In respect of the "How Standards Proliferate" cartoon from XKCD, in case anyone hasn't guessed yet: this is the main reason why I'm insisting on making my new keyboard layout a backwards-compatible drop-in-replacement for the standard "US [English] Dvorak" layout.

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