Author Topic: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts  (Read 2091 times)

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Offline diegaus

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I am a Dvorak typist currently looking to get an ergonomic mechanical keyboard. These days I type mostly on a Macbook Pro and a Filco Tenkeyless.

The options I'm considering include the Kinesis Advantage 2 and the Keyboardio Model 100 (to be released in 2021).

Being a programmer, I type a lot in Intellij and love my shortcuts. A summary of my most used keys/key combinations:

Arrow keys
Alt + arrow key
Alt + shift + arrow key
Cmd + arrow key
Cmd + shift + arrow key
Cmd + alpha character
Cmd + shift + alpha character
Cmd + shift + enter
Cmd + Alt + alpha character
Cmd + /
Alt + enter
Alt + F7
Shift + F6


My main concern is that I have never used a keyboard with thumb clusters (or layered) and I'm not sure how easy it would be to use my preferred key combinations with one of them. I tried searching for a video of someone coding with one of these keyboards, but found none.

I'd like to hear about your experience at typing in Intellij (or similar IDE) with either of these keyboards.  Are you happy with them, shortcut-wise?

If you thought these options were not well suited for using these kinds of shortcuts, would you mind recommending a better option?

Offline econeuler

  • Posts: 97
  • Location: Sweden
Re: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 12 December 2020, 08:04:33 »
Hi,
I just felt compelled to reply to this and say the following (I'm biased, as you will see, towards 40% ergo keyboards):

1. People will tell you a lot of different things. Some ppl will say that they can't use anything smaller than a 60%, and some ppl will say that they need F1-F12 for coding. The fact is that people have different preferences, and the likelihood that you will end up with your "end game" immediately is low. However, you can, as some of my colleagues, just choose a good enough keyboard, like a kenisis or what ever, and then just leave it alone. However, there are programmers using e.g. the Corne and Kyria keyboards without any problems. The [Miryoku](https://github.com/manna-harbour/qmk_firmware/blob/miryoku/users/manna-harbour_miryoku/miryoku.org) keyboard layout is popular (and can be changed from colemak dhm to dvorak), and as you can see the keymap does have all the keys you need, but not using many keys, you can also see that you can use the keymap on a lot of different keyboards by simply not using all the keys available. Ultimately all this is a personal choice.

2. I code in Vim mostly and have my workflow in i3. I use colemak dhm with default bindings in vim etc. I use 40% keyboards, and don't use the "uncomfortable" keys. Now I'm typing on a let's split, but I don't use the 6 outer keys (3x2) on R1. 40% keyboards are nice in the way that you are moving the keys to your fingers instead of moving your fingers to your keys. When writing on a full size board I didnít like how I had to move my hand in order to reach the Esc key in Vim, sure you can remap it to, say, CapsLock, but the problem will continue with other keys. I downsized to a 60% board and really enjoyed it, although the travel distance still can feel long to, e.g., the standard backspace position. A 40% keyboard solves these issues, however you will have to get comfortable using layers.

Thomas at Splitkb has written a nice blogpost about smaller keyboards, https://blog.splitkb.com/how-to-work-with-small-keyboards

There are some good discord channels for ergonomics etc, e.g., splitkb's

Edit: I will also recommend ortholinear layouts with potential column stagger (like the kyria or corne), but this again is a personal choice i guess.. there's also a github repo with a lot of split keyboads: https://github.com/diimdeep/awesome-split-keyboards
« Last Edit: Sat, 12 December 2020, 08:09:22 by econeuler »

Offline vvp

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Re: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 12 December 2020, 14:42:39 »
I developed software on Kinesis Advantage for about 11 years. It works fine. Thumb clusters are comfortable. I switched to a custom keyboard later on. There are some photos how complicated chords can be pressed on a keyboard with thumb clusters: https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?p=250605#p250605 Look at the last two spoilers in that post. It is not the same as Kinesis Advantage but it is similar.

Don't fuss about keyboard shortcuts. You can relearn them quickly. You can redefine them in the keyboard (if the firmware supports macros) or you can use some host side software for it (e.g. autohotkey).

Don't be afraid about slight difference between e.g. Kinessis Advantage and a standard keyboard. You can learn that in about a week or two.

At the end it is all about comfort. Smaller ergonomic keyboards are more comfortable. Though, somebody may jump in claiming his more than 200 key keyboard is more comfortable because it has a dedicated key for all the conceivable actions :-)

Offline ergonaut

  • Posts: 79
Re: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 14 December 2020, 08:11:28 »
Not much to add here, I've made similar experiences to vvp (also with a Kinesis Advantage).

I think many people vastly overestimate how hard it is to relearn some typing habits.

Offline datonedude

  • Posts: 1
Re: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 20 December 2020, 01:11:53 »
Hey man, this is kind of off topic but how have you found Dvorak? Did it actually improve ergonomics/pain?

Offline hoggy

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Re: Programmer looking for ergonomic keyboard - Concerned about shortcuts
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 24 December 2020, 13:17:36 »
Hey man, this is kind of off topic but how have you found Dvorak? Did it actually improve ergonomics/pain?
It took me a while to adapt, but it was worth it.

I'd say it's well worth the switch for an improvement in comfort.  If it's an improvement in speed you're after, it might happen, but there are easier ways to speed up.

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GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0