Archive for October, 2008

Don’t touch my Alt Gr Button

October 7th, 2008 5 comments

I just downloaded and installed the HTML-Kit editor to see if it can help me in the WordPress Theme development projects I just started. Until now I’ve been relying upon the built in editor of the admin interface, handy for small changes but not for building themes from scratch.

Anyway, HTML-Kit was supposedly an excellent HTML editor and at a first glance it seemed good enough. That was until I tried to hit the ” (double quotation marks) key. Instead of inserting the expected character into the html document I was currently editing, HTML-Kit threw me a new MDI window containing a fresh HTML document. As if I’d pressed Ctrl-N(ew) or something.

What was going on? Well, it turned out that the default shortcuts of HTML-Kit was interfering with my custom keyboard layout. (This has happened to me with other editors as well.) My layout takes advantage of the Alt Gr button to move common special characters, like the ” character, from the top row to the base row, all for the sake of speed and ergonomy.

On my keyboard, to strike the ” key I have to press Alt Gr + L, which is actually Alt Gr + N since I base my layout on Dvorak, and since pressing Alt Gr is the same as pressing Alt + Ctrl this combination was coming in the way of the built in Alt + Ctrl + N, which means New HTML document i HTML-Kit. (Do you follow?)

The fact that HTML-Kit didn’t allow me to type a common HTML character made the editor seemingly useless. But, that happened to not be the case. HTML-Kit has a great feature that allows you to define your own shortcuts. So, I did just that: define a new Alt + Ctrl + N to just output my double-quote. (I had to do the same for right brackets, } )

I’d much prefer it if application creators wouldn’t define Alt + Ctrl shortcuts at all, for the reasons given above, but if they absolutely have to, HTML-Kit’s level of customizability is the next best thing.

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