Why developers should care about keyboards

It goes without saying that keyboards are, of course, hardware.

But could keyboards also be more of a software application development consideration than previously thought?


It also of course goes without saying that keyboards are the central Human-Computer-Interaction interface through which programmers will construct and build code — but there is a point of debate to be made.

Touch-based computing has grown increasingly popular thanks to tablets, laptops and even some desktop machines, but so-called “productivity workers” still value the use of the keyboard.

Devices like the Kensington KeyFolio and KeyCover range or the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad have come about in what could perhaps be called the second wave of tablet development.

The arrival of these keyboards has implications: users are now really capable of leaving the house all day without their laptop and relying on a tablet (and perhaps a smartphone too).

The implication for developers is the interesting part.

Surely now, given the popularity of these keyboards, programmers need to think more directly about the opportunity for key-based input rather than the slightly less convenient on-screen keyboards that tablet devices offer.

The Kensington product is (arguably) capable of actually transforming an iPad mini into a small computer, rather than what could be a large smartphone.

The Logitech product is almost ubiquitous at any technology conference these days, at least among the vendor community attendees if not the users themselves — and that should say something for its usefulness.

So excuse us for focusing on hardware in what is essentially a software analysis column, but we need to bring these thoughts forward and pose the question: isn’t it time that the software industry was more keyboard conscious?