Which one alpha key could you live without?

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zslane

14 Aug 2017, 06:42

This is a question for all the Europeans out there.

Which one alpha key could you live without?

Please be sure to mention which country/layout you are using.

Thanks!

Slom

14 Aug 2017, 07:58

None, German :evil:

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Ray

14 Aug 2017, 08:15

That's really a strange question. But I can tell, I can live with a ä/shift dual-purpose key. German.

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Mieber

14 Aug 2017, 08:32

Äöüß, German as well. I'm using a layout several share: us international with all it's advantages and problems. I have put those keys on fn+aous but I'm still struggling sometimes.

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gjooro

14 Aug 2017, 10:02

> < key, common in iso layouts.

I use croatian layout, with blank or DE keycaps (similar layout to croatian), because there are close to none quality keycaps in cro layout available.

>< is accessible with alt gr + . or ,
It's rarely used anyways.

That's why my next build will have iso layout but with big ansi left shift. Stabizer symmetry :)

Findecanor

14 Aug 2017, 13:12

None, I use Swedish/Finnish layout.

I couldn't be without any of the alphabetic keys: A-Z + ÅÄÖ. The latter three are distinct vowels in Swedish and therefore essential. Q, W and Z are used mostly for words of foreign origin, but I tend to type at least just as much in English as in Swedish. Third, I write computer programs, mostly in C (like syntax).

The top/left key of Swedish layout has §½¶¾ which I never use though, and there are two dedicated dead-keys for diacritic marks '`"^~ˇ that could be optimised elsewhere, except that ~ and ^ applied to Space is the only way to type those symbols on their own -- and I do need those for Linux shell and for programming.
Some Swedish words have double-e, which I write as ée, but that is a stylistic choice and there are lots of Swedes that write that as ee.
Last, don't forget all the foreign names! There are lots of people with German names in Sweden, with the letter Ü in their name. Those are always pronounced the German way in Sweden and must therefore be spelled with the umlaut.

Many types of vintage keyboards, such as those for terminal/workstations from HP and DEC, do however have a key printed Ü, and sometimes a key with É ... but I can't tell whether those produced the full symbol or just the diacritic mark, as those keys are in the same positions as the dead-keys with the corresponding marks are today.

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 14:16

Spanish-speaking guy here. I use the Latin American Extended layout, which is (get ready for this) an extension of the Spanish (Latin America) layout.

Whenever I use an ANSI keyboard, I lose the < > symbols, so I make do with both remapped to elsewhere. That said, if it were for me, instead of "losing" a key, I'd make everyone adopt the extra-extra key that Brazilian ABNT keyboards have. More keys = more typing goodness (YMMV).

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 14:19

As per the German layout (disclaimer: what do I know about anything?), it has always mystified me why didn't Germans simply assign what is now the Ö key to an umlaut dead key, and thus free up the space now used by Ä and Ü.

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hansichen

14 Aug 2017, 14:27

It's probably because a board should be friendly for noobs so that they can find every key ;) The ÄÖÜ is fine on the German keyboard but the ß and ? is in a really bad position, we should just get rid of the ß key.

Gesendet von meinem Redmi Note 3 mit Tapatalk

Findecanor

14 Aug 2017, 17:06

The ÜÄÖ in German, ÅÄÖ in Swedish, ÄÖ in Finnish and ÅÆØ in Danish and Norwegian are not variations of other letters, they are distinct letters with distinct sounds and collation order.

BTW, in Swedish, the letter W is not always considered to be a separate letter, but as two V:s, which means that Watt comes before Volt in the dictionary.
BTW, is ß in German considered as two S's or just written that way when not available on the keyboard/character set/font?
Last edited by Findecanor on 14 Aug 2017, 18:35, edited 1 time in total.

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 17:20

Findecanor wrote: The ÜÄÖ in German, ÅÄÖ in Swedish and ÅÆÖ in Danish and Norwegian are not variations of other letters, they are distinct letters with distinct sounds and collation order.
That's the same reasoning for Spanish-language keyboards having a separate key for Ñ (as I mentioned before, I seem to indeed not know anything).

Anyway... I can't help but wonder how much of the current letter-cramming in many national-language-layouts could be dealt with if some hard decisions were made. For example, restricting the numbers to the numpad would open up prime space that could then assigned to many extra letters and symbols (in the case of Spanish and other Iberian languages: « » · — “ ” Ç Ḥ Ḷ etc.) that aren't actually assigned or that have awful locations ( Ç ).

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Mieber

14 Aug 2017, 18:13

If you start rearranging keys prepare for a very long journey :) but at least for me it's a fun journey

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kbdfr
The Tiproman

14 Aug 2017, 18:17

Findecanor wrote: […] BTW, is ß in German considered as two S's or just written that way when not available on the keyboard/character set/font?
ß is an own character (an old ligature of s and z). It comes after a long vowel (or diphtong) when itself not followed by a consonant, while ss is used after a short vowel:
Maße = [ˈmaːsə] (measures)
Masse = [ˈmasə] (mass)

The Swiss do not use ß at all.
depletedvespene wrote: Anyway... I can't help but wonder how much of the current letter-cramming in many national-language-layouts could be dealt with if some hard decisions were made. For example, restricting the numbers to the numpad would open up prime space that could then assigned to many extra letters and symbols […]
This is quite what is implemented in the French AZERTY keyboard, where the numbers on the "number row" are shifted characters, thus making place for é, è, ç, à. On the other hand, not having any numbers at all there would allow for (uppercase) É, È, Ç and À, which are painfully missing, thus compelling to use (typographically wrong) non-accented capitals.

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 18:20

Mieber wrote: If you start rearranging keys prepare for a very long journey :) but at least for me it's a fun journey
Oh, I've been doing it for quite some time now. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: The only reason I haven't gone full-on custom-building keyboards is that I love buckling springs too much... and I kinda want to work within the standard layout, so that my custom layouts eventually gain some degree of wide-spread acceptance.

But if I could have my way with everything keyboard-related...

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 18:22

kbdfr wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: Anyway... I can't help but wonder how much of the current letter-cramming in many national-language-layouts could be dealt with if some hard decisions were made. For example, restricting the numbers to the numpad would open up prime space that could then assigned to many extra letters and symbols […]
This is quite what is implemented in the French AZERTY keyboard, where the numbers on the "number row" are shifted characters, thus making place for é, è, ç, à. On the other hand, not having any numbers at all there would allow for (uppercase) É, È, Ç and À, which are painfully missing, thus compelling to use (typographically wrong) non-accented capitals.
I've always disliked the French layout for that exact reason. Now, just imagine what kind of mess would there be if there were "uppercase numbers" as well... :mrgreen:

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zslane

14 Aug 2017, 19:10

Yeah, I know this is a strange question. But imagine you are taking part in a contest. The rules of the game are simple:

Given a full set of international keycaps (like provided in, say, DSA Granite) and an ANSI 60% keyboard, what would your keyboard look like?

Contest notes:
1. You may assume that the firmware is fully programmable, and that you have modifiers like FN and Alt Gr for accessing tertiary characters or adding diacritical marks.
2. Modifier keys (i.e., any keys that aren't 1u alpha keys) are not allowed to be re-mapped to non-modifier functions, that is to say they aren't allowed to serve as alpha keys.
Last edited by zslane on 14 Aug 2017, 21:37, edited 2 times in total.

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 19:53

zslane wrote: Yeah, I know this is a strange question. But imagine you are taking part in a contest. The rules of the game are simple:

Given a full set of international keycaps (like provided in, say, DSA Granite) and an ANSI 60% keyboard, what would your keyboard look like?
I don't understand your question — wouldn't it be pretty much like the usual ISO layout, but with the "} ]" key moved to the 1.5U position (where | and \ live in the US layout) and the < and > symbols moved elsewhere out of necessity?

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zslane

14 Aug 2017, 21:34

Sure, but where would >< go without a 62nd key position?

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depletedvespene

14 Aug 2017, 23:11

zslane wrote: Sure, but where would >< go without a 62nd key position?
"Regular" national layouts have plenty of AltGr combinations available, so it's a matter of deciding where to move them.

As a matter of fact, I recently I made a small extension to the German layout for a friend (whose laptop has an ANSI keyboard, so she's got the same problem), and I put < and > on AltGr-^/AltGr-Shift-^, and | on AltGr-` .

On the other hand, my custom layouts use all the AltGr combinations, so I assign < and > to ́+1 and ́+2 (understanding them to be just a safeguard for those occasions where an ANSI keyboard is used... yet these otherwise improper combinations aren't uncomfortable to use (YMMV)).

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ideus

15 Aug 2017, 02:16

depletedvespene wrote: Spanish-speaking guy here. I use the Latin American Extended layout, which is (get ready for this) an extension of the Spanish (Latin America) layout.

Whenever I use an ANSI keyboard, I lose the < > symbols, so I make do with both remapped to elsewhere. That said, if it were for me, instead of "losing" a key, I'd make everyone adopt the extra-extra key that Brazilian ABNT keyboards have. More keys = more typing goodness (YMMV).
I use the US International layout when I have to write in Spanish and it works pretty well, of course, I know that it is not for all of us, but I consider it a good solution for the purpose of using the best key caps available, that are the OG Cherry sets and some of the contemporary remakes of the classics like Dolch and Beige by GMK.

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zslane

15 Aug 2017, 03:11

depletedvespene wrote:
zslane wrote: Sure, but where would >< go without a 62nd key position?
"Regular" national layouts have plenty of AltGr combinations available, so it's a matter of deciding where to move them.

As a matter of fact, I recently I made a small extension to the German layout for a friend (whose laptop has an ANSI keyboard, so she's got the same problem), and I put < and > on AltGr-^/AltGr-Shift-^, and | on AltGr-` .

On the other hand, my custom layouts use all the AltGr combinations, so I assign < and > to ́+1 and ́+2 (understanding them to be just a safeguard for those occasions where an ANSI keyboard is used... yet these otherwise improper combinations aren't uncomfortable to use (YMMV)).
So a keycap (which currently doesn't exist in Granite, for instance) that matched your < and > mappings would require four legends to be printed on it, correct?

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depletedvespene

15 Aug 2017, 03:15

Four legends if both < and > are assigned to a single key, like in my friend's custom layout — in that case, a single key can produce: ◌̂ ° < > (respectively: plain, Shift, AltGr and AltGr-Shift).

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zslane

15 Aug 2017, 03:19

If I had to relinquish a key from the ANSI layout, I would pick ~`. On 60% ANSI boards it is often sacrificed in favor of ESCAPE anyway. I don't need the backtick (accent grave) character in normal everyday use, and would be fine accessing it strictly through AltGr. As a programmer, every other character on the board gets used, but the tilde is perhaps the least commonly used, and I could live with it being something I get by chording with, say, ESCAPE.

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Ray

15 Aug 2017, 09:37

As a german who has done some programming and some use of a Linux shell, I can tell, that ~ on the Alt-Gr Layer is fine. I would rather have {[]}\„“” more easily accessable.
When I had to write spanish from time to time though, I would like a deadkey ~ on the main layer I guess. Scratch that, Alt-Gr + n should do the job.

nivloM droL

17 Nov 2017, 07:23

_

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fpazos

27 Sep 2018, 22:22

I'm spanish. It's not a key but characters from two keys, for me the most useless key is the one for Ç that is from Catalán, a regional language that I don't speak. Also the ` that just I don't understand its usage. It would be perfect to have a key less and combine the useful characters in a key. As I'm a web designer for me having a key just for <> is incredible useful, but overall, spanish layout sucks for programming.

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stratokaster

27 Sep 2018, 22:54

To answer this question, I have to post pictures of Mac and Windows Russian keyboard layouts.

Mac:

Image

This is an incredibly stupid layout. Both full stop and comma, which are used far more often than some letters, are shifted and located on the same keys as 6 and 7. Both angular and square brackets are readily available but never used in real life. Dedicating a separate button to \ and ? is just wasteful. I would much rather move /?[] to a shifted layer and have comma and full stop non-shifted.

Windows ISO:

Image

Two \ keys? Shifted comma? Come on.

Windows ANSI:

Image

Please ignore the big-ass enter. This layout is also not ideal: Ё could easily be triggered with AltGr to free up a key, and the comma is once again shifted.

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depletedvespene

01 Oct 2018, 03:45

fpazos wrote: I'm spanish. It's not a key but characters from two keys, for me the most useless key is the one for Ç that is from Catalán, a regional language that I don't speak. Also the ` that just I don't understand its usage. It would be perfect to have a key less and combine the useful characters in a key. As I'm a web designer for me having a key just for <> is incredible useful, but overall, spanish layout sucks for programming.
The second key you mention is the grave accent, used in Catalan as well.

When it comes to programming, the "Latin American" keyboard is much better than the (plain) "Spanish" keyboard. Heck, until 2009, the latter didn't even have the ~ key, meaning working on Unix AND programming in Perl could very uncomfortable.

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