iKey: a tiny multilingual keyboard


Richard Suchenwirth 2002-02-27 - Combining two of my favorite topics, i18n and the iPaq, here is a little study of a pen-pad keyboard for non-Latin writing systems. Windows/CE offers you a virtual keyboard among other input methods, but that is limited to your local locale. If I want to enter e.g. Greek, I have to go through some trouble - or do it in Tcl, of course ;-)

WikiDbImage ikey.jpg

I could not use an overrided toplevel, so the current setup requires a canvas widget. In a global array, the alphabets of possible languages is stored. If you call iKey with one, the characters (plus some punctuation and special characters) are displayed on the canvas, which the caller has to provide (most sensibly 240 wide, 80 high). Tap on one, and it briefly flashes red and is inserted into the widget which has focus. Special characters are "_" which makes a space, and "<" which deletes the last character. For Hebrew, the cursor is moved left after insertion, to facilitate right-to-left writing.


 package require Tk

 # Paint the keys for choosen language onto the canvas:
 proc ikey {c language} {
    wm title . "iKey: $language"
    set keys $::ikey($language)
    set f {{Bitstream Cyberbit} 10 bold}
    set x 10; set y 10
    $c delete all
    foreach key [clist $keys] {
       $c create text $x $y -text $key -tag ikey -font $f
       if [incr x 15]>220 {set x 10; incr y 15}
    $c bind ikey <1> {
      %W itemconf current -fill red
      after 200 "%W itemconf current -fill black"
      set c [%W itemcget current -text]
      catch {[focus] insert insert $c }
      if {$c>="\u05d0" && $c<="\u05ea"} {  # l2r
         event generate . <Left>

 # This routine turns a compact character list, e.g. {a-d fx z}
 # into a regular one: {a b c d f x z}.
 proc clist list {
    set res ""
    foreach item [lappend list "_,;."] {
        if [regexp {^(.)-(.)$} $item -> from to] {
          scan $to %c to
           for {set i [scan $from %c]} {$i<=$to} {incr i} {
              lappend res [format %c $i]
        } else {
           foreach i [split $item ""] {lappend res $i }
    set res


 array set ::ikey {
  Cyrillic {\u0410-\u044f}
  Greek    {1-9 0 - + * / = \u0391-\u03a1 \u03a3-\u03c9}
  Georgian {\u10D0-\u10D6 \u10f1
            \u10D7-\u10DC \u10f2
            \u10DD-\u10E2 \u10f3
            \u10E3 \u10f7
            \u10E4-\u10E7 \u10f8
            \u10E8-\u10EE \u10f4
            \u10EF \u10f0 \u10f5 \u10f6
  Hebrew   {\u05d0-\u05ea}
  French   {\u20ac 
            \u00C0\u00E0 \u00C2\u00E2 \u00C6\u00E6 \u00C4\u00E4
            \u00C8\u00E8 \u00C9\u00E9 \u00CA\u00EA \u00CB\u00EB
            \u00CE\u00EE \u00CF\u00EF  \u00F1
            \u00D4\u00F4 \u0152\u0153 \u00D6\u00F6
            \u00D9\u00F9 \u00DB\u00FB \u00DC\u00FC
            \u00FF\u0178  \u00AB \u00BB

  German1   {@ \u00c4 \u00d6 \u00dc \u00df  \u00e4 \u00f6 \u00fc \u00a7 \u20ac}
  German2   {1-9 0 # ! ? ' \u0022
             a-m + -   n-z * /
             A-M = %   N-Z \u003c >
             @ \u00c4 \u00d6 \u00dc \u00df  \u00e4 \u00f6 \u00fc 
             ~ [ \\ ] \u007b | \u007d
             ^ \u00b0 \u0060 \u00a7 \u00B5 &
             $ \u20ac \u00a3 ()  
  Nordic     {\u00C6\u00E6 \u00D8\u00F8 \u00C5\u00E5
              \u00C4\u00E4 \u00D6\u00F6 \u20ac
  Ogham      {\u1681-\u169a  \u169b \u1680 \u169c}
  Spanish    {\u20ac \u00D1\u00F1  
  Lao        {\u0E81\u0E82 \u0E84 \u0E87\u0E88 \u0E8A \u0E8D
              \u0E94-\u0E97 \u0E99-\u0E9F
              \u0EA1-\u0EA3 \u0EA5 \u0EA7 \u0EAA\u0EAB \u0EAD-\u0EAF
              \u0EB0-\u0EB9 \u0EBB-\u0EBD
              \u0EC0-\u0EC4 \u0EC6 \u0EC8-\u0ECD
              \u0ED0-\u0ED9 \u0EDc-\u0EDd
  Thai       {\uE01-\uE3A \uE3F-\uE5B}
  Turkish    {\u20ac 

              \u00C2 \u00CA \u00CE \u00D4 \u00Db
              \u00E2 \u00EA \u00EE \u00F4 \u00FB

  _Brackets  {# ' \u0022 \u0060
              + - * / % = < > @ & ~
              ^ $ () [ \\ ] \u007b | \u007d :
              ! ? \u0009
  _Fractions {\u00BC\u00BD\u00BE  \u2153\u2154  \u2155\u2156\u2157\u2158
              \u2159\u215A  \u215B\u215C\u215D\u215E 
              \u215F ( ) + - * / = < >



 # Move cursor to top or end of text:
 proc goTopEnd {} {
     if {[.t index insert] == 1.0} {set p end} else {set p 1.0}
     .t mark set insert $p
     .t see insert

 proc show {ln tx} {
     .t insert insert "$ln: \t$tx\n"
     .t see end
 proc demo1 {} {
     show French        "R\u00F4ti de b\u0153uf \u00E0 la po\u00EAle"; # Rôti de bœuf à la poêle
     show German        "R\u00FCcksto\u00DFd\u00E4mpfer\u00F6l";  # Rückstoßdämpferöl
     show Nordic        "Hyv\u00E4\u00E4 y\u00F6t\u00E4";         # FI: Hyvää yötä
     show Spanish       "\u00BFQu\u00E9 hay de nuevo?";           # ¿Qué hay de nuevo?
     show Turkish       "T\u00FCrk\u00E7e";                       # Türkçe
 proc demo2 {} {
     show Cyrillic        "\u0420\u0443\u0441\u0441\u043A\u0438\u0439";  # Русский
     show Georgian        "\u10E5\u10D0\u10E0\u10D7\u10E3\u10DA\u10D8";
     show Greek           "\u0395\u03BB\u03BB\u03B7\u03BD\u03B9\u03BA\u03AC"; # Ελληνικά
     show Hebrew          "\u05E2\u05D1\u05E8\u05D9\u05EA"
     show Lao             "\u0EA5\u0EB2\u0EA7";
     show Thai            "\u0E44\u0E17\u0E22";
 proc demo3 {} {   # ....+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4
     show Brackets        {awk '{sub(/[ \t]+$/,"")}; 1'};  # delete trailing whitespace
     show Fractions       "\u00BD+\u2153=\u215A";  # 1/2 + 1/3 = 3/6+2/6 = 5/6
     show Ogham           "\u169B\u1680\u1681\u1687\u168D\u1693\u1695\u1696\u1697\u1698\u1699\u169A\u169C"


 # As demo and self-test, here is a micro-app with an entry and a text, 
 # which have no function other than testing that focus is correct:

 if {[file tail [info script]]==[file tail $argv0]} {
    option add *Font {{Bitstream Cyberbit} 10}
    entry  .e
    text   .t -height   6 -width   1
    canvas .c -height 110 -width 240 -bg yellow
    pack   .e .t .c -fill x
    focus -force .t
  # ikey .c Greek
    ikey .c German2
  ##bind . <Return> {exec wish $argv0 &; exit}
    . config -menu [menu .m]
    .m add casc -label Language -menu [menu .m.l -tearoff 0]
    foreach i [lsort [array names ikey] ]  {
      .m.l add comm -label $i -command "ikey .c $i"
    .m add command -label "_"    -command {.t insert insert " "}
    .m add command -label "v"    -command {.t insert insert "\n"; .t see insert}
    .m add command -label "<"    -command "event generate . <BackSpace>"

  # .m add separator
  ##.m add command   -label "   " -state   disabled
  ##.m add command   -label "^v"  -command goTopEnd
  ##.m add command   -label "   " -state   disabled
    .m add command   -label "  ^v  "  -command goTopEnd

    .m add cascade   -label "!" -menu [menu .m.! -tearoff 0]
    .m.! add command -label Demo1 -command demo1
    .m.! add command -label Demo2 -command demo2
    .m.! add command -label Demo3 -command demo3

    set msgA "iKey: a tiny\nmultilingual keyboard\n\
            by\nRichard Suchenwirth,\n2002-02\n\
            and\nHaJo Gurt,\n2014-09"
    set msgH "Language: choose alphabet\n\
            _  insert space\n\
            v  insert new line\n\
            <  backspace\n\
            ^v move cursor to start-\n\
           \   or end-of-text\n\
            !  insert demo-text\n"
    .m add command -label "?"  -command {tk_messageBox -title "About"     -message $msgA}    
    .m add command -label "??" -command {tk_messageBox -title "iKey Help" -message $msgH}



HJG 2014-09-06 - I added one entry for german special characters to the table of alphabets, plus another, with an almost complete set of chars as found on a keyboard (Just missing superscript 2 and 3).
Also added entries for Thai (from Keyboard widget), French, Nordic (i.e. Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland), and "Fractions".
The special handling for "<" and "_" has been replaced with new menu-buttons for space, backspace and newline.

HJG 2014-09-09 - New entries: Georgian, Lao, Ogham, Spanish, and "Brackets" (for programming). Also, the list is now sorted.

HJG 2014-12 - Now also with Turkish. A button was added for moving the cursor to the first and last line of the text, as well as buttons to insert some lines of demo-texts (much as in i18n tester). There are now tiny help- and about-boxes as well, and the code has been cleaned up a bit.

See also: