Learning to type in programmer dvorak

I switched to Roland Kauffmann''s excellent Programmer dvorak keyboard layout over a decade ago and haven''t looked back since. It has all the advantages of the dvorak keyboard (e.g., 70% of words can be typed without moving fingers off the home row), with some nice improvements for programmers (e.g., parentheses and brackets are placed symmetrically on the top row, and symbols are primary over numbers). Switching to Programmer dvorak has reduced my wrist and finger strain at work, especially paired with a nice ergonomic keyboard like this one.
In this post, I''ll discuss some of the issues I''ve run into with Programmer dvorak and how to address them.

The keys don''t match the keycaps. Sure, you could buy a physical dvorak keyboard or put dvorak stickers on your keycaps, but why train yourself to look at the keys while you''re typing? I created a wallpaper image with the programmer Dvorak layout overlayed on the Andromeda galaxy. So all I had to do was use my Show Desktop hot corner to consult the layout.

Thumb typing. The keyboard layout of the iphone/ipad keyboard cannot be changed to Dvorak. Several years ago, Apple allowed developers to created 3rd party keyboards, and there are a few dvorak ones but they are all disappointing: ugly, slow, and unpleasant to use. All I want is to apply a new layout to the Apple keyboard. For this reason, I thumb-type in qwerty.

Using a bluetooth keyboard with an iPad. Strangely, while Apple doesn''t let you change the layout of the on-screen keyboard to any Dvorak, they do allow you to use the (vanilla) Dvorak layout for Bluetooth keyboards. Unfortunately, there''s no way to use the programmer Dvorak layout.

Computerized standardized testing. The GRE exam is given on computer and requires a typed essay, and just like the SAT, longer essays typically receive higher scores. To prepare for this, I switched 100% back to qwerty for a month prior to the exam to make sure I could type as long an essay as possible.


Posted by Abraham