MS Keyboard Layout Creator

hrant's picture

I started installing MS's new Keyboard Layout Creator*, not sure if I already had the required .NET-Framework-whatever stuff on my system (WinXP-Home), but when I found out that I didn't, and that the system addition in question is like 24 Megs, I figured to first ask: is it worth it?

* http://www.microsoft.com/typography/links/news.asp?NID=2900

hhp

John Hudson's picture

I love the new keyboard editor, but I wouldn't recommend installing it unless you have a definite need for it and are willing to take some time to figure out how it works. I made a Biblical Hebrew keyboard this week, from which I can input all nikud and teamin. Very cool.

I will note that there are some bad presumptions in RichEdit that affect Office 2002, Wordpad etc. and which can cause problems with custom keyboards (e.g. some combining marks not being treated as such). It's an odd bug, because the keyboard is actually working perfectly, and is entering the correct characters, but they are not being processed correctly. You can solve the problem by using the keyboard in a plain text editor and copy/pasting it into the RichEdit application. I'm informed by MS that this bug is fixed in Office 2003.

hrant's picture

Thanks for the info.

> willing to take some time to figure out how it works.

Is it substantially harder than let's say ResEdit? I've been using a nice little freely-redistributable utility on the Windows side, but I'd much rather use something more native.

BTW, as far as I know there's an Armenian keyboard layout in Win-XP*, but I haven't managed to find it. How do I activate it, and does doing so have any drawbacks?

* In fact, it's mine! A layout I toiled over for very many hours, to get it just right. I've actually been trying to get MS to give credit where due... major stonewall. Any advice?

> RichEdit

Wazzat?

--

About the .NET stuff: Is there a reason not to install it (except preserving hard-disk space)? Should I worry that it gives MS some insidious hooks into my computer?

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Is it substantially harder than let's say ResEdit?

It is a visual editor, so probably easier for most people to figure out than ResEdit. You get a diagram of a keyboard, you click on a key and up pops a character entry dialogue. There are various ways to enter character codes, including typing from an existing keyboard, but I usually use the U+XXXX Unicode hexadecimal input. The aspect of it that may be confusing for some people has to do with understanding how keyboards work, and the relationship of hardware and software.

You activate additional keyboard in Windows XP by accessing Control Panel / Regional and Language Options. Click 'Details' on the Languags tab. This will bring up a window in which you can add a language and a keyboard/IME. There are two Armenian keyboards available, an Eastern and a Western.

RichEdit is a system component for rich text layout. Wordpad is a RichEdit client, and I believe Office uses a custom version.

I'm not aware of any reason not to install the .NET framework. In any case, it is going to be included in your next Windows upgrade, since it is a central element of Microsoft's new architecture.

hrant's picture

Actually, the version of ResEdit that I used (2.1 or so) did have a GUI, and it was pretty nice: on one side you had the keyboard (where pressing qualifier keys opened up new "layers"), and on the other was the font's charmap; you drag-dropped the chars onto the keys.

So it sounds like the MS thing might be slightly harder, but not much.

> You activate additional keyboard in Windows XP by ....

On my system Armenian is missing!! Is it a Home versus Pro version thing?

hhp

John Hudson's picture

That's weird. I didn't think that level of thing was affected by the Home/Pro distinction. But I'm a professional, so I never run anything that doesn't say Pro. :-)

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