From: Alain LaBonté (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jul 23 2004 - 07:38:36 CDT
À 17:16 2004-07-22, Michael Everson a écrit:
>I've never understood this keyboard philosophy. Its "groups and planes"
>terminology just doesn't make sense to me (as someone who has designed
>keyboard layouts for well over a decade). I like good old-fashioned
>dead-keys and four keyboard states (plain, shift, alt, and alt-shift.
[Alain] There is no « plane » at all in ISO/IEC 9995. This is ISO/IEC
10646 terminology, which also has a term called "group", but it is not the
same thing (and yet, you do not find the notion of plane, group, row and
cell complicated while it is indeed multiple enough to make it more
difficult to remember). I think you did not try hard to understand the
concept of keyboard groups, even if I have explained it to you many times (^;
The keyboard group concept is not new (a decade is relatively new in the
world of keyboards, and the notion is a bit older than that), it was
designed before ISO/IEC 10646 (as early as 1988) and it is not difficult to
understand (you should have tried, as you heard about it before designing
keyboards, as you say (^; )... I too, designed keyboards, since more than
two decades¹, and I also have written keyboard drivers implementing group
selection on PCs, as soon as I heard about the layer shifting concept.
A group is just a keyboard layout of up two 3 levels (in general only 2, as
for the US keyboard).
The concept of group and group selection (called "layer shifting" by its
two designers, Dr Umamahwesaran and one of his IBM colleagues, in 1986, if
my memory is good) was taken into consideration by ISO with the intent to
extend it to multiple groups. However the multiple group model, if it
exists, has not been standarized yet and deployed fully in its modalities,
but time may have come for this. For this we must rely on international
standarization, not on the will of only one individual (everybody has ideas
about keyboards, as I hardly learned since I began to work on our Canadian
keyboard standard in 1985 -- it is a prowess to come to consensus on
keyboard issues, but we did it in Canada [we adopted our standard
unanimously, after long "battles"], and internationally, with success [also
after long "battles"] -- however it needs everybody to try to understand
each other's ideas and integrate them in harmony).
>>With UNICODE/UCS now of age, this in our opinion would be highly
>>desirable to go beyond international standardization of the Latin script
>>support limited to some languages as now.
>[Michael] Please see the specification of the Irish Extended keyboard for
>Unicode, at http://www.evertype.com/celtscript/ga-keys-x.html
[Alain] Every layout can be considered a group in the ISO model. What is
lacking is standardization (taking all platforms into consideration) in
what you write.
¹ the first keyboard driver I developed was on an 8K (yes, 8192 octets of
RAM only, not one more) Commodore PET, in machine language (6502 processor,
I had to make my own assembler program before, and it too had to fit within
8K) where I had to care in real time about the row and column of the wires
intersecting each key switch, to determine the keys that were being hit...
Nowadays with PCs, the keyboard microprocessor does only this, and just
sends a code (called scan code) to the main processor indicating that a key
well identified has been hit (no need for the PC to watch in real time,
since al this is put into a buffer before an interruption signal is sent to
the PC). I made my first PC keyboard driver in 1982, a few months after the
first IBM PC had been released with an Intel 8080 processor under the hood
(August 1981 [they made an Assembler program at once, and I bought it
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