TextBlade "docs"

Just for the heck of it, I started reading all the Waytools posts from the beginning, especially noting (and copying) anything about how it works. This info may be available elsewhere on the site, but it could also be only found in their posts. Don’t know if there is a length limitation on posts so hope this works. The following is just from from posts up through the end of March (this is a SLOW process!) and are in order of when Waytools posted them. Different posts are given at least two lines of space from the prior post:

TEXTBLADE

Symbols + numbers are accessed by holding down the spacebar

The SpaceBlade is a MultiTouch surface, and detects where you press. It is possible for different zones (like the corners) to be mapped to different functions. MultiMap65 lets you control what these corners do.

TextBlade supports the ESC key, and all other functions on a standard PC or Mac keyboard.

Forward delete is built-in.

TextBlade supports “forward shift”, which is a familiar feature for smartphone and tablet users. If you tap the shift key once, it will capitalize the next character you type (you can use whichever finger you are accustomed to for shifting).

This turns out to be a very fast way of getting shift. The world’s fastest typist, Sean Wrona, uses Caps Lock on a traditional keyboard instead of Shift (although he has the burden of hitting it a second time to turn it off). He found that fast sequential strikes allow him to perform better at speed than a concurent strike and hold.

More and more, our staff has been using forward shift for all capitals… not just the QAZ key.

For text, you can do everything from TextBlade, including cursor navigation and selection, so you never have to leave home row.

The precision sculpted surfaces on TextBlade keys are quite important for fast tactile recognition, so stickers would interfere with performance. But there is a much better feature built-in to MultiMap for this.

Users can assign custom labels in the MultiMap editor, and a temporal prompt pushes up when needed via the iOS keyboard extension. This displays every label and assignment, so users don’t even need to remove fingers from the keys to find a special symbol.

Supports traditional caps shift by holding either the left or right shift key along with the chosen letter.

Also supports iPhone-style caps shift by tapping either shift key before typing the next letter. This tap shift is what we mean with the term “forward shift”.

Supports caps lock by double-tapping either shift key.

When you want to capitalize say, QAZ, with same hand as the letter, you use the tap shift.

Typists find it’s actually faster and easier than the acrobatics to hold two fingers down together. TextBlade is smart like iPhone to auto release after the letter is struck, obviating a separate release step.

Foward delete - this form of backspace does forward delete. (very useful in editing). Hold the space bar down for the green layer and hit backspace key to get it. It saves a lot of cursoring.

MultiMap can push a key map graphic up on the screen in response to a gesture or other action on TextBlade.

It’s temporally managed, so it’s only there briefly, and in the context when you’d need it. If you hold the symbol shift for example, but don’t select a symbol right away, it pushes up the symbol legends to help, and then goes away when you strike one.

Since keymaps are stored in the flash of the device, you can use say, iOS to create a map, and then use the map on the other platforms even before their is a native form of the editor.

Your custom key map can reside in two places:

Your iPhone (can optionally be synced across devices via the Cloud)

On the TextBlade itself

Option #1 gives the most flexibility, and even allows for unicode characters and things like emoji that aren’t normally generated by keyboards. Our keyboard extension for iOS facilitates this, and remains invisible, unless you want it to come up. Similar extensions for Android, Mac, and Windows are planned.

Option #2 works on all systems that support Bluetooth 4.0 keyboards, even if they don’t have an app installed.

When you are building a new map, it resides locally on your device first. At any time, you can upload the map to the TextBlade and use it with all your machines.

TextBlade can communicate in 2 ways:

TextBlade can send characters directly to the OS. This method gives TextBlade instant out of the box compatibility with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

Since TextBlade is a BLE device, it can also send data directly to our iOS keyboard extension. This provides increased flexibility, and access to characters not normally found on keyboards (like engineering symbols and emoji). This method works on iOS, and lets you type in any app (we’ll be extending it to other OS’s in the future).

TextBlade works out of the box with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

You don’t need to install any apps (unless you want to), and our keyboard extension for iOS is purely optional.

TextBlade supports dead keys.

Dead keys are used on many international keyboard layouts (although some, like French AZERTY, put accented characters like è and é each on individual locations for faster access).

We’ve tested TextBlade with Japanese rōmaji text input. This works beautifully on iOS, with full access to katakana, hiragana, and kanji characters.

The Command-Space shortcut is used to switch between languages. This shortcut is supported by TextBlade. Since it is used so often, we are also investigating ways to make this switch even easier than on a traditional keyboard.

Next character, next word, end of line - are all supported. In both cursor navigation, and text selection contexts.

Home, End, PageUp and PageDown are all supported on the green layer of these same locations as those cursor arrows.

The mappings all align with the logical associations. (PageUp is green layer up arrow).

It has a full inverted T right on the home row.

Cut, Paste, Copy, Undo, and redo are all there too.

Two green labels flank some letters. The right is the green only, and the left is the green+shift key.

This mirrors the assignment scheme on legacy keyboards, and we generally use the same finger, unless there’s advantages to a new location.

So anything on the left side is accessed using a Shift. This applies to green legends, like _ (underscore), and also to silver legends, like < (less than).

On a legacy keyboard, _ (underscore) and ~ (tilde) and | (pipe) are typed with the pinky and Shift. Tilde was a far reach.

On TextBlade, these keys are accessed using ring or middle finger, so pinky gets relief.

So to get an Underscore:

Tap Shift key, then strike Dash key (in green layer)

Home button is free for remapping on the silver layer, and is not preassigned.

We put it on the green layer after some testing, because we felt home was a strong function that should have some protection against inadvertent strikes.

You don’t want to exit your app by accident, so we use the green shift as an arming preamble.

So it’s nice and close, but never accidentally hit. Home is super useful for Siri and app management, so you need it handy, but not with overly hot action.

caps lock is now subsumed within the two shift keys, which have caps lock functionality via a double strike.

The embedded display in the SpaceBlade also affirms this state, distinct from Tap Shift for just the next letter.

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Thanks for the effort, there were some details here I had missed, having started frequenting mid-late April…

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No big deal. I sometimes get interested in something and just keep working at it. Besides, I’ve learned a lot by reading through them. I’m into early May posts now, but nothing new to add yet. I think I’m right around half way through all their posts right now.

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This is really useful. I’m always find with my Apple devices that there are features I’d no idea existed, and often wish for a bit of systematic documentation just like this.

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constructive and useful post

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I just finished through the end of May. Very little to add - other than my eyes are getting VERY blurry by now! I’m telling you, it can make me happy to see WT have gaps in posting times! Anyway, here’s the latest stuff I have:

TextBlade sends standard keyboard make / break codes to the host system. Make / break codes are a single byte, and are interpreted by an internal mapping table in your OS. When you pick a keyboard layout on your OS, it sets which mapping table the operating system uses. This standard is many decades old.

Since Colemak has all the same characters as QWERTY (they are just arranged differently), TextBlade sends the equivalent QWERTY character codes. Translation is done onboard the TextBlade, so there is no need for Colemak support on the host OS. Any OS with QWERTY support will do.

Capitalization of letters is handled by the OS. The same make / break code is issued for “A” and “a”. The OS capitalizes all letters that arrive after a Shift make code, and before a Shift break code.

Most folks don’t realize that TextBlade already has the capability to wake your phone, built-in.

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Managed to finish June posts. Just a bit to add. Note that I don’t get everything posted here. Most typically, I don’t post things about foreign languages (that is, for me, anything other than English), but there is some, such as in this report - just to give some idea of what they are doing rather than covering every detail of them.

On my rather large computer screen, WT’s posts take 163 pages. I have 47 left!:

Å is accessed by holding the SpaceBlade down and tapping the P / Å key.

Likewise, ø is accessed by holding the SpaceBlade and tapping the Æ key.

Since your thumbs are always on the SpaceBlade, this can be done instantly and without any relocation of your fingers. This makes accessing the green layer much easier than our closest reference point: getting capital letters on a legacy keyboard.

The MultiLayer Keys video on our website demonstrates how this works.

Dead keys (for access to diacritics) are supported by MultiMap. They affect the next character pressed, applying the specified diacritic. You can map a dead key to any location / layer, just like a regular key.

you can also map accented characters to locations in the green layer for faster access.

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41 pages to go. Here are the WT’s info from July:

you can use Shift in combination with ModKeys.

You get Control + Command by holding Z + V. Z X V works too (the X is optional)

Ctrl Alt Cmd. It’s Z X C V.
In the TextBlade app, you can configure the behavior of the SpaceBlade corners. One option is to map the left corner to your main modifier (Command or Control). This is useful for 1 handed access. There are other mapping options too. The left corner can provide access to an additional layer called “left green”. Our international layouts use this feature.

To access the green symbols on the left side of each letter, hold the left corner of the SpaceBlade. Holding anywhere else on the SpaceBlade gives you the green legend on the right side.

you will be able to assign specfic combos like Ctrl X to a layer / location.

You can map your favorite emoji directly to finger locations in a layer

You can also bring up the onscreen keyboard at any time using your TextBlade.

With our keyboard extension installed in your iOS / Android device, you can instantly switch between layouts with an action on your TextBlade. You can have several of these layouts resident in the extension for fast switching.

TextBlade’s built-in memory lets you store one of those as your primary map in the TextBlade itself, without the need for the extension.

You can also configure the SpaceBlade corners in the TextBlade App. Mapping them to Command, Alt, or Ctrl are among the available options.

All of those functions - Play, Pause, Skip Forward Skip Back, Volume Up/Down/Mute, and more - are already built-in.

The standard-issue keymap has them, accessible from the home row Media chord.

They’re actually a layer of the same location and arrangement as the engraved Inverted-T cursor keys.

That makes them inherently very mnemonic, and very easy to reach without looking.

You can jump to them right in the midst of typing, and then jump right back to typing, without ever needing to look or reposition your hands.

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Forced myself through to the end so this is the last “docs” post - at least last based on WT’s message posts:

F1 through F20 are all fully supported, as well as compounds of shift with function keys.

Later in the cycle for 9, they decided to bar display of on-screen keyboards if connected to a Bluetooth keyboard. Previously it wasn’t mutually exclusive.

We think there’s a work-around to make it happy, but need to do more to be sure.

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Man, this took some effort! Way to go!

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Koudos to the effort.
Thanks for the detailed summary.

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Now THIS is a truly worthy forum branch. Grownups talking about a mutually beneficial topic, to everyone’s benefit. No drama, angst, or petty, snarky b&*$#!^t. Breath of genuinely fresh air. Thanks to all.

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Wow. Good job, Kahuna!

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