The Ultimate Programmers Keyboard?

Over the years, I’ve come up with a lot of ideas for products, both real world and software.  Some of those would be:
1) Ear muffs with built in headphones
2) Surround sound headphones
3) A keyboard that works well for programmers, including instant macros, a billion shortcuts and more.
 
#1 was brought out by someone about 6 months after I thought of the idea – this was in the late 80’s or early 90’s.
 
#2 started appearing a while ago, again about 6 months after I first thought of it.  I guess I need to learn to react quicker to these ideas (that, and build a factory so I have the resources handy when I have an idea)!
 
Now it looks like #3 has possibly happened, but by accident rather than by design.
 
Logitech has a product called the G15 Gaming Keyboard.  I believe this may turn out to be a fantastic keyboard for programmers.  You can read their information site for all the relevant details, but consider this – it has a grand total of 54 programmable function keys!  That’s 18 keys, with three "banks" of programming.  Each key can be assigned to launch a program or run a macro.  Macros can be programmed quickly just by pressing the MR (macro record) key and then the "G" key you want the keystrokes to be associated with.  Program launching can be handled by using the configuration program.
 
The LCD display can display things like current media playing, a date / time / email status panel and system performance (CPU and memory utilization).  It can also be programmed using an included SDK.  In my case I was intending to use it to display certain server status information, but I haven’t gotten around to coding that yet.  However, DevExpress has come out with a plug in for their Refactor! Pro tool that displays the refactors available and various statistics about the code that you’re looking at.  I don’t know that it’s extremely useful, but it is cool.
 
The key feel is quite good in my opinion, but the keyboard overall is large.  Given everything that’s jammed on it, that isn’t a surprise, but if you have a tiny desk, you might notice the loss of space.  No Miguel, they don’t have a "natural" version.
 
Oh yeah, it has lighted keys (which can be turned off) to help with those late late late night coding sessions.
 
Do you code?  Do you think this keyboard might be useful to you?

3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Programmers Keyboard?”

  1. Sounds like a great idea. I want a keyboard that doesn\’t have a lot of vertical travel in the keys, that feels sturdy (almost all keyboards have keys that "wiggle"), and is QUIET. Loud keyboards bother the hell out of me, especially when I\’m at home and someone else is sleeping, or when I\’m at work, typing really fast (90 wpm) in an open office environment. I like keyboards that simulate laptop keys because they have very small travel and are pretty quiet, but HATE compact layout. I have one like this and is really annoying to hit special chars when programming, also the key quality sucks.This logitech one sounds like a great idea, although i think its pretty expensive for a KB. Have you heard about Das Keyboard? It\’s blank and has high quality weighted keys but looks like an oldschool 286 KB with HUGE travel and is probably loud.

  2. Hey Morgan.  Yeah, I\’ve heard of Das Keyboard – I love the idea of a blank keyboard – it would stop people from touching my systems!
     
    The G15 keyboard is pretty quiet, but there is some "give" when you press the media control buttons at the top of the keyboard, but there is no give in the typing area.
     
    – Eric.

  3. Really amusing landing on this page… I typed “programmers Keyboard” into Google, and it came here… I have a G15 Keyboard already, and I’m a code junkie… The Keyboard is brilliant, although I do prefer the travel on my laptop KB, but the G15 is smooth, and I do sit in the dark bashing away at my keys, so the backlighting works for me. Up until now, I never really thought of assigning shotcuts to all those extra keys… but what a brilliantly, slap in the face, straight forward idea to use them… Hmmmm… I wonder how much more efficiency I can squeeze out of myself.. I’m sure it will help a bit with unit tests, refactoring and debugging… nevermind everything else I could throw in there… Now just to remember what I assigned to which of the 18 keys:-)

    btw. The G15 has 3 banks of 6 programmable buttons = 18

    If you’re really into that sort of thing.. Check out the Logitech G510… now that’s a coders dream come true… I think that’s next on my “to buy” list…

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