Input method switching: by app vs. universal

Hey everyone…

I saw koki’s post there and it reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to ask about on here. As a Dvorak typist, when I have to share a computer with someone, I need to switch between Dvorak and QWERTY. I’ve seen two different ways of doing this.

  1. DVAssist.exe – this little Windows tray app switches the current keyboard map back and forth. If you switch apps, it’s still whatever you last set it to in whatever context. So it’s universal (except for terminal sessions, etc…)

  2. Win2k and the switcher that comes with BeOS Max – these work similarly if not identically in that the keymap you’re using is tracked per app, so that if you open an app, switch maps, and then open another app, you’ll have to switch maps again, and so on for every app you open.

I hate this second way, because I have to keep switching maps all the time, and so does anyone else who comes along and needs to use the computer, but only if they’re going to use the apps I have open (which has often been the case, because people just want another browser window in which to check their e-mail. If it’s made to revert to the default on new windows of an already-open app, it’ll be even more annoying for me; if not, it’ll still be annoying for the momentary user.)

I can see some benefits in the second way, but I still think the first way is much better. I was just wondering if anybody else had a strong preference either way. Should this be an option, or is one really much better than the other, or what?

Also, I was wondering about this case for login screens, but I guess it’s kinda hard to tell what keymap to switch to before the user is known…which can only happen through input using the default keymap. So unless there’s some keymap switcher/listing built right into the login screen, there’s not much I can see that could be done. Then again, logging isn’t too long a process…

What do you all think?



Hi Kev,

on R5 there is already a switching of input methods (left alt + space). I think keymap switching should happen too, but universal.

If you have any ideas about where we should configure these keys, where we should configure the list of methods, the list of keymaps to switch to, please describe them here.


Hey Korli,

My ideas are pretty shaky at this point, because they only apply to my specific situation. First off, is it fair to equate an input method with a keymap for these purposes, or can there be different keymaps within the Japanese input method, for instance?

Also, how many keymaps/methods do people normally switch among? If it was more than two, I guess we have everything we need in SpicyKeys and keymap -l, so long as everyone else likes the universal over the per-app switching.

This made me wonder, too, about universal key combos. This is kind of off-topic, but: Is there any way to tell what kind of filters are already in place? For example, SMAC under Windows had many three-key combinations to use in the game, but a lot of them overlapped with ones I had set up for launching folders and stuff. In particular I was often frustrated with the fact that the game kept being minimized so that a window could pop up looking in my A: drive. I didn’t want to have to change my whole shortcut scheme (which would’ve had other conflicts with the game anyway) just for one program. But the same thing would apply here. If a program set up a shortcut combo that conflicted with the switcher combo, how would it know? Would both be carried out when the combo was pressed? If only the program got it, how would you switch keymaps/methods within the program? Just thinking out loud. :slight_smile: