Dead and Compose keys (was: Re: Romanized Singhala got great reception in Sri Lanka)

Andrew Cunningham at
Mon Mar 17 19:45:55 CDT 2014

On 18/03/2014 11:23 AM, "Naena Guru" <naenaguru at> wrote:

> I tried to make a phonetic one to kind of relate to the English keys.
Still, you need to have many shifted keys to get common letters.

No you don't, you just need to understand the possibilities of what your
input framework is capable of and the best way to implement what you want
to achieve.

The windows input system is probably the most contrained,  but to look at a
good phonetic layout have a look at the Cherokee Phonetic layout on Windows

Designing a god layout requires using the right tools,  knowing the limits
and capabilities of those tools, and using them in creative ways.

> On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:
>> Naena Guru <naenaguru at gmail dot com> wrote:
>> > Making a keyboard [layout] is not hard. You can either edit an
>> > existing one or make one from scratch. I made the latest Romanized
>> > Singhala one from scratch. The earlier one was an edit of US-
>> > International.
>> I've made a couple dozen of them myself, with MSKLC.
>> > When you type a key on the physical keyboard, you generate what is
>> > called a scan-code of that key so that the keyboard driver knows which
>> > key was pressed. (During DOS days, we used to catch them to make
>> > menus.) Now, you assign one or a sequence of Unicode characters you
>> > want to generate for the keypress.
>> Precisely. As Marc Durdin said, you can create a keyboard layout just as
>> easily for Unicode characters as for ASCII and Latin-1 characters. You
>> can also assign a combination of characters to a single key.
>> So it is not true that "typing Unicode Sinhala requires you to learn a
>> key map that is entirely different from the familiar English keyboard,
>> while losing some marks and signs too." Unicode does not prescribe any
>> key map. You can have whatever layout you like.
>> As Marc also said, if you think there are "marks and signs" missing from
>> Unicode, that is another matter.
>> --
>> Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA
>> | @DougEwell
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