OSK Enhancements Proposals

  • Hello Everyone,

    I'm starting this thread because I wanted to share my ideas about improving the OSK in UT.
    Back in the Canonical days, I suggested to use the space key for controlling the text cursor.
    It was a real joy when I learned that Canonical did implemented it which we can now enjoy with UBports.
    And I want continue with that idea and improve or extend its functionality.

    At the moment, I have two prototypes.

    1. [Swipe to trigger cursor mover]
      Instead of the current "Press and Hold" gesture to trigger the cursor mover, I made it to work with just a horizontal swipe in the space key. For me, this gesture is more natural while typing unlike the current one which will some kind of disrupt your flow by long pressing before swiping. There's a catch though because there's more chance of accidental trigger especially for those who tend to drag fingers while typing. My experience so far is good though and did an accidental trigger just once.
      Demo Video

    2. [Swipe to switch OSK language]
      This one adds a functionality to change OSK language via swipe in the space key. Some people needs multiple OSK layout/language enabled and it could be a bit hassle to switch between them especially if you have more than 2...remember emoji? yeah that counts 🙂 I personally don't have this problem so I can''t attest if this one would be really helpful. And also, at the moment, emoji kinda breaks it because it has a very different layout which doesn't have the space key. I'm also planning to propose a new layout for emoji 🙂
      Demo Video

    Now I don't have a concrete plan yet on how I will propose these. I'm thinking of adding a Gesture section in the settings app so users can customize the gestures and which functionality they want for them. For example, you can set "PressAndHold" for Cursor Mover then "Horizontal Swipe" for Language switch. But that could be too much settings? can't say yet.

    Currently, I have another idea to expand this idea further and I'm trying to do a quick hack for it.
    The idea is to also use the "cursor mover" feature for text selections/manipulations. My initial thought is to use double click/tap (without releasing) to start the text selection. I would also like to put Copy, paste, select all buttons above the OSK. I want to see and use it first in action before thinking of the best way to implement these gestures. Unfortunately, I can't even do the first step yet which is to enable text selection from the OSK and it seems like I have to modify the C++ part of maliit and recompile which I am not familiar enough.

    Any thoughts, opinion, violent reaction, help maybe?

    FUN FACT: When I got the idea of the "Space key cursor mover", it was a "Eureka" moment for me and I thought I was the first one in the world to come up with that idea. Then days after that, I saw the exact same functionality on my friend's LG G3. At least it was my original idea and it just happened someone got it first LOL

  • @kugiigi Thanks for that post. I, as a long years user of Canonical UT, and since a few weeks of UBports, was not aware of this cursor mover.

  • @kugiigi said in OSK Enhancements Proposals:

    The idea is to also use the "cursor mover" feature for text selections/manipulations.

    Yes please!

  • @doniks Then help me recompile maliit LOL

  • @kugiigi

    But that could be too much settings?

    If you think, that there will be too much settings for an non-advanced user, you can always make it to get OSK settings upgrade from some file, to let more advanced user decide... you know, like, if file ~/.config/osk/setings.json exists, update default config from it.

  • I vote for including in Settings the choice of selecting different options for the space bar hidden function since....I like ALL the implementations and workarounds actual and future you invented Kugi 🙂 I'm testing the gesture listed at the point 1 and I find it very useful. Good job indeed and keep going on!

  • @kugiigi said in OSK Enhancements Proposals:

    @doniks Then help me recompile maliit LOL

    not promising that I know how, but happy to think along. where are you at?

  • @doniks successfully compiled via crossbuild but I'm trying to figure out which files only to copy to my device
    I don't want install everything cause it might break my OSK and I won't be able to bring it back to working 🙂

  • @kugiigi said in OSK Enhancements Proposals:

    @doniks successfully compiled via crossbuild

    mind pasting some more concrete steps?

    but I'm trying to figure out which files only to copy to my device
    I don't want install everything cause it might break my OSK and I won't be able to bring it back to working 🙂

    shouldnt it build a deb? then youd getv exactly what you need to install

  • @doniks I cloned the repo locally and compiled via crossbuilder. Crossbuilder is quite easy to use although I had some errors deploying yo my device.

    At first, I didn't installed the debs and just picked some files (i.e. *.so) from them and installed manually to my device however that didn't work so reverted back the original files.

    Last night, I tried deploying to my other UT install on Nexus 5, however it broke my OSK LOL
    And now I don't know how revert it back.
    Then I noticed on my main UT install where I manually installed files, that whenever I switch layout, the OSK restarts.

    I think it's safe to say that I messed up the compilation LOL

  • @kugiigi said in OSK Enhancements Proposals:

    @doniks I cloned the repo locally and compiled via crossbuilder.

    I'm trying. I'm stuck at this:

    Upgrading packages already installed on device with newly built ones.
    adb: error: remote object '/tmp/repo/create_repository.sh' does not exist
    [100%] /tmp/repo/create_repository.sh
    + where=/tmp/repo
    + origin=local
    + label=repo
    + cd /tmp/repo
    + apt-ftparchive sources .
    + gzip -9
    + tee /tmp/repo/Sources
    + apt-ftparchive packages /tmp/repo
    + gzip -9
    + sed s@/tmp/repo@@
    + tee /tmp/repo/Packages
    + apt-ftparchive -oAPT::FTPArchive::Release::Origin=local -oAPT::FTPArchive::Release::Label=repo -oAPT::FTPArchive::Release::Codename=/tmp/repo release /tmp/repo
    Package: *
    Pin: release o=local
    Pin-Priority: 2000
    Package: *
    Pin: release a=xenial*
    Pin-Priority: 50sed: can't read /etc/apt/preferences.d/extra-ppas.pref: No such file or directory
    Get:1 file:/tmp/repo  InRelease
    Ign:1 file:/tmp/repo  InRelease
    Get:2 file:/tmp/repo  Release [2,004 B]
    Get:2 file:/tmp/repo  Release [2,004 B]
    Get:3 file:/tmp/repo  Release.gpg
    Ign:3 file:/tmp/repo  Release.gpg
    Get:4 file:/tmp/repo  Packages [10.3 kB]
    Reading package lists... Done  
    W: The repository 'file:/tmp/repo  Release' is not signed.
    N: Data from such a repository can't be authenticated and is therefore potentially dangerous to use.
    N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    You might want to run 'apt-get -f install' to correct these.
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
     repowerd : Depends: repowerd-data (= 2018.03+1ubports1+0~20181026092453.6~1.gbpae2cfa) but 2018.03+1ubports1+0~20180417175046.5~1.gbp3909fb is installed
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try using -f.
    sed: can't read /etc/apt/preferences.d/extra-ppas.pref: No such file or directory
    If a script named .crossbuilder/post_deploy existed, it would be executed on device after every deploy.

  • Finally got it to compile. The working branch is xenial.
    Now let's see if I can put my ideas into reality 😃

  • I would appreciate if someone can help find out how to support modifiers such as shift and control. At the moment, I'm reading the codes and trying to find out where I can add this and having a hard time so far 😛

  • The onscreen-keyboard could be improved by adding a Select All, Copy, Cut and Paste functionality.
    This would greatly accelerate transferring text between UI elements.

    • The ?123-key is modifed, such that it acts on the TouchEnd event, rather than TouchBegin. Pressing any other key in the meantime cancels the action.
    • Touch-and-hold the ?123, then touch-and-release the a button selects all text in the current focus UI element.
    • Touch-and-hold the ?123, then touch-and-release the c button copies selected text.
    • Touch-and-hold the ?123, then touch-and-release the x button cuts selected text.
    • Touch-and-hold the ?123, then touch-and-release the v button pastes the current clipboard content.

    Basically like a conventional keyboard, but the ctrl key is simulated by ?123.

    What do you think?

  • Another feature which could help many users would be an emoji search.
    Many OSes do it. I think it's very convenient.

    It could be achieved with the existing "word suggestion" feature. For example, if you type "ok" as text it suggests 👌 (U+1F44C), or 🦄 (U+1F984) for "unicorn". Touching the suggested Emoji replaces the typed character sequence.

    It also probably is a good idea to provide an "enable" option in the keyboard settings for users who don't like it.

  • @haveaniceday That's a nice idea but I'm not sure if the symbol switcher button is the good place to put it.
    What I have in mind right now is to put the buttons where the word ribbon is and they will be displayed only while in "selection mode" AKA as "cursor move" mover at the moment.
    If we have these options from the OSK, it's easier to copy and paster things even on currently non-supported (text operations only) toolkits such as QQC2 and Kirigami.

    But again, my blocking point is implementing modifier support in the OSK 🙂

  • I was finally successful building the keyboard component via crossbuilder.
    The key was to build the xenial branch and not the master. Thanks to @myii ! (if that's really you?)

    So, I guess I've done enough work and in the state of "is this good enough or does it make sense".
    I would like to know your opinion, inputs, suggestions, violent reactions 😃
    The codes aren't final as most of the logic are in a "hacky" way of things 😛
    And I would greatly appreciate any help on the UI/UX design part as I am really bad with them 🙂

    Here's a couple of screenshots of the current state.


    If you're willing to take the risk, you may try it from this branch (ignore the branch name...I messed it up, should've been xenial_-_advanced LOL)
    Github link

  • @kugiigi I haven't understood very well how it would work, but I'd put the back button over the space bar and the two arrows instead of the numbers button (?123) and the enter button

  • I've listed short descriptions of the functionalities that I added in the branch I linked.
    The "back" button exits the "cursor mover" mode without waiting for the timeout. The arrow keys work like Home and End keys. i originally put them at the bottom but there are tendencies where the user activate the cursor mover swipe and then reswipe again on the same spot so putting the back button there would be a hindrance. The arrow keys would be good to be at the bottom though.

  • Here's a very clear and professionally created video showing the things I've implemented in the OSK so far 😃

    Video Demo

    Next thing I will experiment with is the dark mode which I've already shown in the telegram groups.
    Please note that all my works aren't yet PR-ready and on the "hacky" side of things 😃

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