geekhack Community => Ergonomics => Topic started by: turtlepainter on Fri, 01 October 2021, 17:13:30

Title: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: turtlepainter on Fri, 01 October 2021, 17:13:30
I am curious what your thoughts are about using Soul as opposed to Colemak DH? I'm just now beginning to learn Soul Instead of Colemak DH because the letters S and ZXCV are not changed from Qwerty which I'm pretty familiar with by touch. I don't want to use the "Fat Z" layout in Colemak DH, but I'm finding the reach for the letter K in Soul a little awkward after working with Colemak DH for a few days.

If you have experience with Soul and Colemak DH please advise.

Thank you in advance
Title: Re: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: turtlepainter on Sat, 02 October 2021, 23:26:37
After trying Soul for several days I am switching back to Colemak DH. I can get used to the new placements of S and ZXC in Colemak DH easier than the K and J locations in Soul. I know it is subjective but Colemak DH just feels better to me.

The hands want what the hands want I guess.

Feel free to chime in and share your experiences with Soul and/or Colemak.

Title: Re: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: stevep on Mon, 18 October 2021, 10:26:50
Creator of Colemak-DH here, so might be biased!  Soul and Colemak-DH are somewhat similar - in that they both recognise that the traditional left-hand finger-assignment scheme on traditional keyboards is broken, and both try to improve Colemak by fixing the issue some people have with overuse of the centre-column.

I think Soul's main advantage is that it keeps Z X C V unchanged (even if the finger assignment is different from traditional), and is probably a bit easier to transition to. But in other respects, I think Colemak-DH is better. Soul seems more tied to ANSI hardware in that it relies on the Qwerty B key, which if you are using the symmetric system, isn't ideal. Consequently, it leads to the issue with J and K you mentioned, but this also means it doesn't translate so well to ergo/matrix keyboards. Soul also scores worse on same-finger stats, but the difference isn't huge. Colemak-DH's handling of Z is not ideal for ANSI users, but Z is the rarest letter in English, so this is likely more a psychological drawback than a real one (most ANSI users assign Z to the Qwerty B key rather than the Fat-Z option).

I don't have any experience using Soul, but it does look fairly decent on the surface. Nonetheless, trying to be objective as I can, I still think Colemak-DH's approach makes more sense overall.
Title: Re: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: turtlepainter on Wed, 27 October 2021, 07:48:03
Thank you for your thoughts, stevep! It's an honor... I used Soul for a few days on an ANSI keyboard and quickly changed back to Colemak-DH. I'm not very experienced with keyboard layouts, so I don't think my opinion matters, but Colemak-DH just feels better to me. More recently I bought a 4x12 ortholinear keyboard from the good folks at Boardsource and have really been enjoying learning layered layouts and Colemak-DHM. Your layout is brilliant! Thank you for creating something that brings a bit of happiness to this old fart's daily grind. Blessings to you my friend.
Title: Re: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: stevep on Sat, 30 October 2021, 11:52:12
Perhaps another thing to add is that Colemak-DH builds upon the tried-and-tested Colemak, whereas Soul could be a riskier proposition as not many people have used it heavily. Sometimes layouts look good on paper but issues only become apparent after real-world experience.
Thank you for your kind words, I'm glad DH is working well for you. Especially with that ortho board - these days non-traditional keyboards are the way to go!
Title: Re: Soul v Colemak DH
Post by: turtlepainter on Sat, 30 October 2021, 14:49:21
I'm just now getting to a bit over 21wpm, and I can tell that once I get faster, and I don't have to think about the key strokes, the rolling formation of words is going to make writing in DH a real pleasure. What you've made is not just a relief for folks who spend their days working at a keyboard, but there is also an esthetic quality to the practice. Really, nicely done! I'm going to lube and tape mod some Choc Purpz and type just for the enjoyment. Thank you again for taking the time to reply to my post.