Author Topic: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?  (Read 650 times)

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Online DiTBho

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keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« on: June 02, 2021, 04:02:55 pm »
It's time to change my old keyboard because ... well because it just died.

R.I.P.

(1 sec of silence, to remember how many things I typed on it. Great stuff.
It was a rather good IBM PS/2 keyboard. Paid 150 euro, it lasted 10 years)

....

OK, I am mostly a C programmer, I usually also program in assembly, sometimes in Python, but I think i will write a lot of documents in Latex in the next months because the development list of  tasks in my depart is rather idle at the moment.

Yesterday I watched a video on Youtube, a dude was mentioning a "keyboard for programmers", but he didn't explain what "for programmers" really mean. He simply showed a very expensive (250 euro) mechanical keyboard, and I am really confused.

Is really there a keyboard optimized for programmers?!?
Like those keyboards optimized for gamers?


That guy also showed his new iMac which comes with a super small keyboard, wireless. Aesthetically it looks nice, but the touch-pad is an external unit you have to buy separately. I don't know how good it for typing, it also comes a fingerprint recognizer, that's exactly one of the features I don't strictly need to have.


What I really like to have is a track-point in a decent position (e.g. between the keys G and H?), embedded with the keyboard rather than on an external unit.

I really used a lot the track-point on my old keyboard, and I think it's one feature I would like to have on my next keyboard.

Any recommendations for a new keyboard? 

Thanks :D

 

Offline Ian.M

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2021, 04:46:34 pm »
There aren't many options for a full sized keyboard with a pointing stick.  AFAIK Unicomp EnduraPro is the only one currently available.  Allegedly, its very much like an IBM model M + a classic Trackpoint, but with a USB plug on it.  If you can live with a compact keyboard (no numberpad), Lenovo do the standalone USB 'ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II'.

I cant actually recommend either as I haven't used them as I'm a cheap-skate and my satisfaction criteria for keyboards are fairly low due to early experiences with rubber keyed 8-bitters best described as typing on a corpse, and I'm not *that* fond of pointing sticks (although if someone would make a min. 5 button mouse with a pointing stick for scroll wheel functionality, I'd be all over it)!

N.B. a buckling spring keyboard is likely to make you unpopular in a cube farm due to the resulting noise level!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 04:50:27 pm by Ian.M »
 
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Offline sulami

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2021, 06:28:56 pm »
Yesterday I watched a video on Youtube, a dude was mentioning a "keyboard for programmers", but he didn't explain what "for programmers" really mean. He simply showed a very expensive (250 euro) mechanical keyboard, and I am really confused.

Is really there a keyboard optimized for programmers?!?
Like those keyboards optimized for gamers?

Not really. Some are programmable, either via firmware flashing or on the fly, and might allow for macros and such, but in general they all work the same.

More interesting imho is actually the form factor and ergonomics. As someone suffering from typing-induced RSI, a well shaped keyboard is just as important to me as a decent chair.

In general I’d say go for something mechanical, have a look at different switch kinds and what you might like (stiffness and sound mainly), spend a decent amount but not too much, 80-200 is a good starting point. Stay away from anything too obnoxiously gaming branded, and just pick something that you like. Reviews can be useful too.

As for an actual recommendation, I’ve heard good things from colleagues about the CODE keyboard, which is definitely on the pricier end, but a standard form form factor and robustly built.
 
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Offline Rick Law

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2021, 08:27:14 pm »
There aren't many options for a full sized keyboard with a pointing stick.  AFAIK Unicomp EnduraPro is the only one currently available.  Allegedly, its very much like an IBM model M + a classic Trackpoint, but with a USB plug on it.  If you can live with a compact keyboard (no numberpad), Lenovo do the standalone USB 'ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II'.

I cant actually recommend either as I haven't used them as I'm a cheap-skate and my satisfaction criteria for keyboards are fairly low due to early experiences with rubber keyed 8-bitters best described as typing on a corpse, and I'm not *that* fond of pointing sticks (although if someone would make a min. 5 button mouse with a pointing stick for scroll wheel functionality, I'd be all over it)!

N.B. a buckling spring keyboard is likely to make you unpopular in a cube farm due to the resulting noise level!

Model M keyboards...  I've not seen/feel anything smoother than them.

I am not programming professionally anymore but I am still using my IBM-PS2 keyboards (Modem M keyboard) that was once on my IBM-PS2 (model 50, 70 and the p70)...  Yeah, they are the round PS2 mouse/keyboard connector plug, but these days they are used via a USB adapter.
 
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 12:54:09 am »
Ah yeah, Model M...
Unicomp now makes keyboards that have a similar tactile feel with USB connection: https://www.pckeyboard.com/

Other than that, I'd personally vote for a mechanical keyboard. Much more pleasant to type on. Another point: I'll only use keyboards without numeric keypads these days (aka "tenkeyless"). They are not as wide, and when you're using a mouse, it'll be closer to the center and thus more comfortable in the long run. Numeric keypads is something you can definitely do without. I have a separate numeric keypad just in case, but I hardly ever use it.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 05:10:05 am »
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UWZBP4A

These Unicomp keyboards have the look and feel of the old PC-AT keyboard.  They are made for people who know how to type fast.

I have two of these and they simply blow the doors off of every other keyboard I have ever had.
 
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Offline newbrain

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 07:15:01 am »
Having a mixed PC desk/workbench, my preference went to a gaming mechanical TKL (Ten Key Less) keyboard.
The lack of a numeric keypad does not bother me in the least, but I would sure feel crippled with any of the lesser layouts, especially when programming.

The RGB background lighting is nice to have: I made several static (no flashy effects) layouts e.g. for Visual Studio, LTspice, gaming etc.

Many of these keyboards can be bought with different switches, Cherry is still king and a safe choice, though other brands are now almost on par and some might be better.
It's up to you to select the right switch for your taste, there are many combinations of stiffness, tactile feedback and sound (my personal preference is for Cherry Blue = tactile "bump" and loud click - in work environment one might want to select for quietness).

Now every time I need to type on a membrane keyboard I pine for my Norwegian Blue Cherry keys.
 
The model I use is a Coolermaster Masterkeys Pro S, though I won't recommend this specific brand and model; they are more or less all similar, as long as:
  • It's from a good brand and solidly built.
  • It comes with the switches you like
  • It comes with your preferred features (e.g. lighting, USB hub, maybe macros)
I got this one as it had the right switches and at the time it was on offer at a very good price.
Nandemo wa shiranai wa yo, shitteru koto dake.
 
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Online AndyC_772

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 07:23:21 am »
+1 for Cooler Master - I use an MK750 and rate it highly.

IMHO the first, last and only consideration is "can I type comfortably and accurately on this?", and the answer in my case is 'yes'.

By contrast, the ,echiancal keyboard on my laprp[ ois terrible and I haye using it fore anything other than the ofdd shortcut.

Offline brucehoult

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2021, 07:38:29 am »
Sure, the old IBM Model M keyboards are good, as are the equivalent Apple ADB keyboards from the 80s. It's fun interfacing either to a modern system.

The modern Apple keyboards are actually pretty nice.

I don't hate the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850 with a keyboard and mouse both paired to the same USB dongle that works on anything with USB. I actually have those on my M1 Mac Mini now, as well as the Threadripper, and another set on my RISC-V PC (HiFive Unmatched).

The keyboards are "good enough" but the mouse is I think one of the better mice out there.

I think they're around US$35 these days.

[possibly it is ironic that this is the *only* Microsoft product I buy]
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 08:30:59 am by brucehoult »
 
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Offline bson

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2021, 10:14:00 pm »
WASD Cherry MX brown

I have two.
 
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Offline daveho

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2021, 11:01:25 pm »
I'm currently using the absolute cheapest 104 key mechanical keyboard from Amazon, and it's fantastic:

https://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Sale-deep-56-Off-Merdia-Mechanical-Keyboard/dp/B076F4T4T4

I like it at least as much as any mechanical keyboard I've used, and I've used a few.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2021, 12:26:26 am »
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UWZBP4A

These Unicomp keyboards have the look and feel of the old PC-AT keyboard.  They are made for people who know how to type fast.

I have two of these and they simply blow the doors off of every other keyboard I have ever had.

+1 for the Unicomp keyboards, they are awesome (I have the "ultra classic").  The one downside is - they are huuuuge.  But they can't be beat for fast typing...

 



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