Difference between revisions of "Design Team/Proposals/Touchscreen/On-screen Keyboard"

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  sudo make install
  sudo make install
I got a [http://arm.koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/getfile?taskID=743486&name=build.log&offset=-4000 build error (see as well discussio page)] and therefore build without the test 'qmake-qt4 CONFIG+=notests'.
I got a [http://arm.koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/getfile?taskID=743486&name=build.log&offset=-4000 build error (see as well discussion page)] and therefore build without the test 'qmake-qt4 CONFIG+=notests'.

Revision as of 06:37, 20 April 2012

Existing solutions

GNOME shell on screen keyboard

Gnome 3.2 on-screen Keyboard originally a GSoC 2011 project by Nohemi Fernandez, mentored by Dan Winship. Here is the original design document, project report, an interesting bugzilla thread, feature status pages, and a post from Nohemi's blog.

And here is the GNOME shell keyboard code. It is part of GNOME 3.2 (Fedora 16). You can get to it when you click on the accessibility button at the top right of the screen and enable 'Screen Keyboard'. It will come up then when you click in the url entry in Epiphany or if you bring it up by hand. It does not come up automatically when you want to type in the google search for example.

Caribou is the backend used with the gnome-shell onscreen keyboard. You can choose between different layouts which are placed in Fedora under '/usr/share/caribou/layouts/'. The layouts are in XML format. For the touch layout there is one for arabic and one for hebrew.

You can get the current layout with:

 gsettings get org.gnome.shell.keyboard keyboard-type

You can change the layout with:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.keyboard keyboard-type fullscale


Malit You can run Maliit on Fedora 16: here are the installation guides for Fedora, latest available version is 0.91. On the XO this drags in 4,4 MB of QT and 12 MB of QT-X11.

Put maliit.repo in /etc/yum.repos.d/ 
yum install maliit-framework maliit-plugins

No you can run the 'maliit-keyboard-viewer' example.

There are more examples as noted under the running instructions. You need to install 'maliit-framework-examples maliit-inputcontext-gtk3 maliit-inputcontext-gtk2' for that. And you need to update the immodues cache: 'gtk-query-immodules-3.0-32 > /usr/lib/gtk-3.0/3.0.0/immodules.cache'. Then instruct to use the Maliit IM_MODUE: 'export GTK_IM_MODULE=Maliit' and start your application:


There are many different layouts for languages like German, French, Arabic and so on, in Fedora they are stored under '/usr/share/maliit/plugins/languages/'. The format of the layouts is XML.

Build from Source on XO

Install the following rpms:

Get the sources:

git clone git://gitorious.org/maliit/maliit-framework.git
git clone git://gitorious.org/maliit/maliit-plugins.git

Build the sources:

sudo make install

I got a build error (see as well discussion page) and therefore build without the test 'qmake-qt4 CONFIG+=notests'.


  • On Fedora 16/17 there is one issue where the keys that popup stay visible, this is tracked here.
  • On the XO the keyboard has a fullscreen black window as background: looks like this is because we do not supports tranclucent windows and Maliit 0.91.0 needs that, according to Jon this is fixed in master

Gnome Onscreen Keyboard

Gnome Onscreen Keyboard




eekboard see the developers blog for a video and more details, and some eek board on a Tablet notes. For F-15 and F-16 try the below (note I couldn't get the focus change events auto hide to work on 12.1.0 build 6 as desktop accessibility support is disabled):

sudo yum install eekboard
eekboard -F

Previous research from Saymindu

Previous research from Saymindu


Saymindu fvkbd

  • Pros.
    • Simple
    • Three vertical key rows allows maximum canvas visibility in landscape
    • Support for multilingual
    • Square keys
    • Supports pop-over character extras
  • Cons.
    • Small, non-standard space-var placement
    • Missing many characters needed for more than basic text input
    • Needs feature to lock open different keyboard layouts (Saymindu submitted a patch)
  • Unknowns
    • Non-Gnome dependencies?
    • Supports screen rotation?



  • Multilingual text input (ability to switch at least between two languages)
  • International (ability to show custom international characters such as accents and currency symbols)
  • Key pop-over for quick access to extra characters (useful as well for above)
  • Landscape and portrait orientation (portrait has a better ratio of canvas to keyboard UI chrome)
  • Reveal on focus of text input widget entry, dismiss on defocus
  • Reveal and dismiss on screen keyboard UI manually
  • Slide canvas vertically to keep insertion point visible
  • Uppercase alphabet key theme
  • Frame friendly (hide frame when keyboard invoked, hide/reveal when frame is revealed/hidden)
  • Sugar theme-able

Would like to haves

  • Insertion point movement (cursor buttons vs. left/right swipe gesture) This is an important one imho, I have not seen it on any other screen keyboard yet, and looked for it myself several times. On the iPad you can drag the insertion point by its tab to move the insertion point (you will get a magnifier), to pick exactly where you want to add more text. This works in the notes taking app and in Safari. In Android I have seen the same working in the Browser, but not in Polaris Office for example."
  • Adopt lext on keys to current context (go vs search)
  • Additional customisable key/button strips for Activities to provide additional specific features
  • Keys for cut/copy/paste – perhaps toolbar buttons are enough already?
  • Custom keyboard layouts for specialised input needs (url, numeric, emoticon)
  • Predictive text (context sensitive, locale sensitive)
  • Square keys