a blog about my KDE adventures

The State of KTouch — Part II

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This is the second part of my blog post series describing the results of my work on KTouch. If you haven’t read the first part, you can find it here. This time I will write more about the new course and keyboard layout editor.

KTouch can be only as good as the underlying data. Without courses the trainer is basically useless to the user, without the keyboard layouts the visualization of the keyboard during training isn’t available. Therefore it’s important ships with as much data as possible.

Currently there is support for 39 keyboard layouts and there are 39 courses for 30 keyboard layouts. Unfortunately the quality of the course material varies a lot. There are a few courses of truly outstanding quality, but the most courses have been auto-generated out of dictionaries. Their quality ranges from passable to unusable. Of course none of those have full phrases or sentences in the training data, or provide even complete short texts to train on. A course containing such elements is much more effective and fun to learn.

Therefore I really would like to see more human-created high-quality courses in KTouch. As I can’t do anything about it personally (The German courses are already excellent, the only language I feel sufficiently proficient in to write training texts in.) the only thing I can do is to provide the tools to make creating them as easy as possible.

That’s a screenshot of the new course editor with one of the problematic courses loaded showing one of the built-in quality-assurance checks: if a lesson contains characters not available in that lesson, because they are not among the configured new characters of this lesson or any previous one, they are highlighted in red. There is also a check for too long lines.

On the left side their is a list over all data files KTouch knows about, built-in and user-created alike. If the user selects a built-in resource the editor will degrade to a simple viewer, though. If the user selects a keyboard layout the program will adapt appropriately.

The keyboard layout editor is still a bit unfinished, though: currently there is no way to edit the characters on a key yet.