Comments on 7 Reasons to Switch to the Dvorak Keyboard Layout

Ok, so I recently read an article that had seven resason to switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout

I will list the authors reasons and comment on them.  Please see the original post for the complete detail:
7 Reasons to Switch to the Dvorak Keyboard Layout

Reason 1 -QWERTY was designed for the typewriter, not the typist.

This is true.  But I am not a typewriter or a typist.  I am a developer.  While the Dvorak keyboard is probably faster for a typist that writes normal words and text, is it faster for a computer programmer ? Maybe.  Is it the fastest possible layout for a programmer?  I doubt it.

Also, a semicolon is common for programming languages and in QWERTY, it is on the home row.  In Dvorak, it is not.  Dvorak makes some common programming keys harder to reach.

So no, Dvorak was not designed for a programmer.

There is a programming version of the Dvorak layout: Programmer Dvorak layout.

This may address some of these issues.  Is that what the article intends? I don’t think so, because I couldn’t find an option on Windows 7 64 bit to use that layout.

Reason 2. Dvorak increases your speed.

Also, you forget about people who don’t really type that much, or that type the special keys of a programming language often.  Think of all the keyboard shortcuts.  CTRL + C, CTRL + P, CTRL + A.  WIN + E, WIN + D, etc…

Look at this quote from the article:

70% of keystrokes are on the home row; 22%, on the top row; 8%, on the bottom.

Does a programming language have the same the percentages?

So really, shouldn’t there be a separate keyboard layout for programmers than for typist?

if (keyboardLayout == sucks)

Reason 3 – Dvorak lessens your mistakes.

I have to agree, that having the most common keys on the home row might decrease mistakes.

However, many of my mistakes are usually due to the really far away keys, such as _ – + | \ } ] ~ ` ^ and both layouts leave those characters in the same place.  What if there was another button, like Caps Lock or SHIFT or CTRL or ALT, that moved those characters to the home row.

Reason 4. Dvorak is more comfortable and better for your health.

I think I agree with this.  I wonder if people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome could be prevented or lessened by this.

I do have to say that a natural keyboard helps but is not enough.

A better shape for a keyboard would be if the keyboard were cut in half and the two piece leaned together like this: /\

Or maybe some type of ball with keys:  ( )

Reason 5. Switching to Dvorak is easier than ever.

Really.  I think it is harder than ever.  I agree that some of the features mentioned make it easier in ways, but other features, such as keyboard shortcuts make it harder. When I switch to Dvorak, does my keyboard shortcut keys switch too?  Unfortunately no, they don’t.

Until that is fixed, it is going to be difficult to move.

Also, I have used QWERTY since i was 7.  Yes, in 1983 my family had a computer and a digital typewriter. Both were QWERTY.  So after 26 years of using QWERTY, it is not easy to switch to anything.

Everybody has a computer.  Sometimes you use a friends computer. Of course they use QWERTY, so you have to remember how to use that.  Or if you have to fix someone’s computer.  Or worse, you remote control someone who is using QWERTY but you are using Dvorak.  How would that work?

Reason 6. Dvorak is cool.

Is this really a reason?  This is an opinion.

And this quote is just silly.

You’ll also be in the company of some cool people, including Bram Cohen, inventor of BitTorrent; Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of WordPress; and Barbara Blackburn, world’s fastest typist.

Yeah, but if I use QWERTY, the company is even that much better since it encompasses 99.99999% of the English typing world, right?

Reason 7. Using Dvorak is a noble cause.

Ok, so digging wells in Africa is a noble cause.  Manning a soup kitchen in your spare time is a noble cause.  But using a different type of keyboard than everyone else is just annoying. Sorry.

My Experience

Ok, sorry to rag on this article, but I tried Dvorak for a while and I am less than impressed.

Lets get down to what we really want.  We want to be faster at typing whatever it is we type. We want to have more comfort when we type.

My Keyboard Gripes

  1. Why is the spacebar so frieking wide. Why can’t it be half the size, so my thumbs can be used to push CTRL or ALT or the Windows key or SHIFT. Why do both my thumbs need access to the space bar?
  2. My hands do not fit well on a keyboard. Not even an ergonomic or natural keyboard. A better shape for a keyboard would be if the keyboard were cut in half and the two piece leaned together like this: /\I can’t find one.
  3. There should be a mouse pad, like on laptops, but directly below the space bar. Why do I have to have to separate interface devices that are both inefficient.  Taking my right hand away from the keyboard to use the mouse is one of the biggest faults of keyboards.Oh…there is:

    But is there an ergonomic version? I guess so.

    But they are expensive.

  4. As a programmer, I want to be able to have one key for these three keys: ();Most the improvements in speed for programming are in the IDEs and so the keyboard layout is becoming insignificant.  Especially with IDEs with Intellisense.

Maybe you like Dvorak and maybe you have never heard of it.  Either way.

All right.  I am done rambling.

One Comment

  1. Prof.Yeow says:

    wow! i will try make the channge! thanks man por the info

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