Updating MSKLC (part 4) for the sake of authoring tap and hold on Windows Phone

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/06/15 15:54 +00:00, original URI: http://www.siao2.com/2015/06/15/8770668856267196491.aspx

Link to previous part here.

One of the most exciting features of Windows Phone keyboards is expanding keyboard layouts by using the simple feature known as tap and hold. But there are two major challenges there:

• the simple dearth of art showing how to use the freaking feature, and

• once you show how the feature works, showing the new MSKLC (Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator) feature of authoring such a keyboard so people who want to take advantage of such a feature will know how to do it.

Now for the first point, simply using your imagination is not enough for a world shattering concept. Yet art for this concept is really freaking hard to find. That part is entirely on the Windows Phone people, the people who when pressed can show simple art on what happens when you tap and hold the period key

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="212"] tap and hold the period key, and....[/caption]

but don't show what happens when you hold down other keys, like the 'a' key.

For the record, a on the US English keyboard layout shows a, á, â, à, ä, æ, and å right on top of the keyboard layout, floating amorphously above it. I'd love to show it to you, if there were only some intuitive way to do it. If you have a Windows Phone just tap and hold the 'a' key and you'll see it pretty quickly.

This simple lack is what blocks people from conceptually realizing what is possible.

Now the second problem is one that I will at least partially put on myself since I really can easily picture what should be happening and if I am not sure how to take this vision and communicating or evangelizing it (for lack of a better word).

Once that [simple?!?] task is accomplished, mall of the details on how to do it and when to do it and how to apply it to non Windows Phone scenarios like authoring chained dead keys and everything else is just easy detail work that almost anyone can actually accomplish.

The actual EUREKA moment for me came when I realized that these two different problems:

• chained dead key keyboard layout authoring, and

• tap and hold keyboard layout authoring

are really the same problem, when everything is said and done. User interface ideas are much easier after that simple EUREKA moment has happened. In both cases they are simple ways of extending keyboard layouts.

But it really ran into the next problem, which is..

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referenced by

2015/06/16 Updating MSKLC (part 5) for the sake of the intersection of circumstances

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