We are thinking about changing the way Renoise handles keyboard input a bit.
Very quick summary: Allowing keyboard focus to main sections of the GUI
will make it possible to have more shortcuts, make them easier to remember
(since many will be reused in different contexts), and easier to learn
(more conforming to common windows conventions).
Before we do this, we want a little bit of feedback from our users.
Please come with ideas and questions.
First I will give some reasons why I think this is a good idea,
and what we want to accomplish with it.
- Currently, the keyboard is crowded with shortcuts, and it’s
very difficult to find good shortcuts for new features.
Later additions to Renoise will only increase this difficulty.
- Learning different shortcuts for every single action in Renoise
is a daunting task, and the planned changes should make shortcuts
easier to learn and remember, and more conforming to common conventions.
A central example is making it possible to use arrow keys with shift
to do selections in both the discop, instrumentlist, patternsequencer
The changes should:
- Make it easier to learn and remember shortcuts for most tasks.
- Make it possible to add more keyboard functionality, covering
even more of the program than today without touching the mouse.
- Make room for more future shortcuts.
- Make more efficient keyboard usage possible, by avoiding cumbersome
shortcuts like ctrl+alt+something or ctrl+shift+something (at least
for the most common tasks).
Here’s a rough overview of what I imagine as a good solution.
- There will be a set of global shortcuts, like playing controls,
window management, showing and jumping to different sections of
the program. This should be kept as small as possible while still
covering all global operations, and not use keys that is important
for any sections.
- At any time, one section of the program will have focus,
for example the patterneditor (see more below). All keys that
aren’t used as global shortcuts will be sent to this program
section and possibly used there. This fits with the way I believe
most people will work most of the time, focusing on one task at
- Each program section can have it’s own internal focus if that suits
the way that section works (see below).
Next, if we’re going to do this successfully, we have to take care
that it doesn’t harm anyones way of working (at least not more than
it eventually gains).
We should think about which sections people often work with
interchangeably (at the same time), like the discop and instrumentlist.
This is important to make the keyboard usage streamlined for
as many working methods as possible.
The instrumentlist is often used while using the patterneditor,
or instrumentenvelopes, or sampleeditor as well. So it might
be smart to have some global shortcuts for the instrumentlist,
like keeping the current numpad shortcuts (but still make it
possible to focus there).
Ideas for main focus sections:
- Middle (main) view (patterneditor, sampleeditor, instrument envelopes)
- Lower view (DSP view, automation, ++)
- Upper view (discop, scopes)
(The upper left part is covered by keyboard shortcuts anyway, and doesn’t
gain anything from a keyboard focus IMO. When it comes to the patternsequencer,
we have done certain changes… Our secret for now )
We should have shortcuts to set the focus to a certain section,
like the already existing shortcuts to switch views but setting the
keyboard focus in addition. This can both be individual shortcuts for
jumping to each single section, and general shortcuts like Ctrl+[Shift+]Tab.
Each section can have it’s own rules for the internal focus within that view, like:
- the discop focusing on the directory or file listing,
- the instrumentlist focusing on the instrument or sample list,
- the patterneditor focusing on a certain track
[Shift+]Tab is a good standard shortcut for such internal focus changes.
And a last idea for a global shortcut (with a local effect):
opening a contextmenu for the currently focused section.