User Poll About Keyboard Handling

Please note that this is an unformal poll only. No decision will be made
directly from the result, but we’d like to know what you think.

As you may know, we changed the keyboard handling from DirectInput
to the standard Windows API in alpha2, from 5th August. This was done
to resolve some bugs we’ve had a long time. And as usual in software
development, changes to fix one problem often leads to another :)

The question is as follows:

What would you think about making all the right side modifier keys
(shift, alt, ctrl, win, menu) work normally as modifiers instead of as
regular keys (as they have been in earlier versions)?

The default shortcuts that use these keys (various playing shortcuts)
can be replaced with variations of something+space.

i worked years with right hand shortcuts (since my times on MED - amiga/win) … a change to normal modifier keys would be a hard change … :huh: <_<

my thoughts are:

i could adjust to different play controls if it’s in the interest of a more stable and well-performing program, but i’ll miss the current controls a bit.

i do NOT want to get rid of the shourtcuts for the bottom control panel’s tabs. I use them on a regular basis and find that they improve workflow immensly.

We will definitely not move the much used play controls to F keys,
that’s too far away IMO. My thoughts are more in the line of:

Space - Play song/Stop playing
+ctrl - Plays and loops the current pattern
+shift - Play from the current row instead of the top of the pattern

These will at least keep the shortcuts to the lower part of the keyboard.

One of the reasons I’m not sure about the outcome of this poll, is that
I’ve seen users actually complaining not being able to use the right side
modifiers. It’s not obvious to me which group is the larger one, and I
believe new users who don’t have the old die-hard ten years habits
will prefer not having them as keys (behaving more like most programs).

Are you still having problems after the change to WinAPI?
For me it would be a loss to loose those right mod keys. I almost never use them in windows and other apps anyway. Is there any reason to remove the current system, other then it would seem more natural for a tracker newbie? Cant we have both systems?

I really like to keep my right hand on the arrows keys, and still beeing able to start/stop with the same hand. I have stop on Numpad0 btw, and edit on/off on space. I use midi keyboard a lot, so I find this system very easy for me. It may not be intuitive for others. And I’m not trying to be an old grumbler that complains about changes. But is this really a necessary change? IMO this are functions that you should have on dedicated keys only. After all it is the most used key(s) when tracking. I dont like to use combi-keys for this. And I would hate to move my hand all the way up to F-keys.

just MHO

edit Ok… your last post explained a bit more. But…what benefits do you get by removing the current system? Is it impossible to have both?

personally, I think I could get used to pretty everything.

I just need “play pattern from cursor”, “play song from pattern”, “play line” shortcuts, whatever they are, and I’m set.

“I really like to keep my right hand on the arrows keys, and still beeing able to start/stop with the same hand.”

this is very very true indeed. using key-combinations for play-pattern is thousand times worse than those keyboardrelated bugs actually :)

I think martinal is right. New users have to be kept in mind also.
We as veteran tracker users have to be less conservative.
some losses bring very much improvements with them, and ‘getting used to it’ is mostly easier than you think

although I dislike a key combination for different play modes…

hmmm I this is a hard one guys, don’t know what to vote yet.

On my keyboard, the right shift, win and menu buttons doesn’t work in Renoise.
So a change in the default shortcuts would be necressary if this can’t be fixed.
If we get all those button except shift working, that would be enough IMO.
We just need new shortcuts for RecordSong and RecordPattern then.

One advantage of freeing the rightside alt and ctrl is that they can be
used with other combi-keys. For example you could let your right hand
stay on the arrows and hold ctrl while pressing F-keys with your left to
do pattern operations. There’s a reason why these keys are put on both
sides of the keyboard. But as you say:

These are valid arguments as well.

Wuaaah, I didn’t wanna vote first, just wanted to view with null-vote but then the forum said, I already had voted. Freaky :)

My 2 cents: I go with Florian. If it has to be done, do it. If not, I’d prefer the old controls.

And excuse me if this question is a duplicate or been discussed before:

On my pc the right menu-button is beeing ignored (since 1.5) while Renoise calls the right ‘Alt’ button ‘menu’ now. Any idea?

i dont really get this new-user-issue. is it more easy to learn shift+ctrl than right-alt or what? anyway, couldnt you just have both systems then;
newbie-mode and oldschool-been-using-right-alt (or right-amiga) -button-for-the-last-15-years-and-i-dont-care-if-the-windows-buttons-dont-work-
-in-the-trashcan-mode ;)

(isnt the largest part of the renoise-community old trackers anyway? if new users arent scared away with the tracker-interface as such, i dont think key-combinations is a big deal really)

edit by It-Alien:
sorry, had to wrap the long word

Same for me. Record Song/pattern I have noe problem to reassign. What I want to keep most is play song/pattern. If you moved those two to win and meny, then I wouldn care. Anyway… I see valid and good arguments on both sides. So why not make this an option? ‘Enable/disable right side modifier keys’.

Btw I also wanted to view with null-vote… :o

I’m just glad that the Windows Start key actually works now in the latest verison. I often switch between other programs or need to start other things through the start menu, and I always leave my left hand on the left side of the keyboard to access things such as Alt+Tab, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X etc. As far as Renoise goes, I’ve always used the right Alt and Ctrl keys to play the pattern/song, and things are still the same there so it’s all good. Or is it that these might be changed in future versions? I don’t think I fully understand it.

Rshift = lshift = ok
Ralt = Rmeny ??

rAlt and rCtrl works just as before. For me at least.
And I’m fine by this. I dont need the meny and win in renoise.
And we are using winAPI now.
So are the rCtrl and rAlt making any ‘bugs’ now?
If not. Why not keep it as it is now, and make it an option to make the rCtrl and rAlt behave like the left modifiers?

You are right about this.
But my rAlt is still playing pattern. Thats all I care about :)

I think he ment that they complained that the rCtrl and rAlt did not behave like the left ones. Not that they did not work as play pattern/song.

Anyway… I can see where this is going ;)
What is buggy right now doesent have to be buggy tomorrow.

And as I see this, martinal made this poll to get a picture of how many people would miss the ‘old mod-keys’. Not that is was impossible to actually use them the old way without any bugs in WinAPI.
But he should answere that one.



That’s just a name. The menu button is called “apps”, while alt gr is called “rmenu”.

Exactly. Many people are used to having each hand on one side of the
keyboard. Using two hands for key combinations like ctrl+q can be less
straining on the hands. This is why the modifiers are on both sides in
the first place. This can be just as much a habit as using a particular key
for play pattern is for other people.

And before someone starts trolling: this has nothing to do with
newbies, less capable users etc. The users who work like this (using
both hands efficiently) are more probably experienced computer users.

My intentions are blurry, even to me :ph34r:
This thread is taking things a bit in advance,
it might all turn out to be unneccresary.

The poll results are less important than the discussion that has been here.
As for fixing the bugs that are, I’ll have to ask taktik (he’s currently away
some days, taking a well deserved break) since he’s the one who’s been
working on this. Most likely, we’ll stay with the old ways as far as we can
help it,

I strongly disagree. See my previous post about using two hands.
Another example specific to tracking in Renoise:

if I keep my right hand on the arrows, and want to undo an action,
I now either have to stretch the left hand (straining) or move the
right hand (slow). With ctrl as a modifier, I would’ve kept the right
hand still and pressed rCtrl with minimal effort while pressing Y with
the left hand.

Again, it’s not as much about first impression for newcomers
(however important that may be) as usability for all users taking
into consideration habits and conventions from most other programs.