An Unholy Union Between QWERTY and Svorak

Like many programmers not from the US I grew up and learned programming on a rather suboptimal keyboard layout. When I started programming at 14 I didn’t think much about the keyboard, sure typing { involved pressing the extremely awkward combination alt+shift+8 and sometimes shortcuts would not work because the author didn’t consider layouts outside of US QWERTY, I however was still happy.

It wasn’t until my second year in university that I started thinking about keyboard layouts and how suboptimal Swedish QWERTY is for the act of programming. I had friends that embraced the Swedish variant of Dvorak, called Svorak. I tried it out, but ultimately I decided that learning it was not worth the effort. However I did like the way that Svorak A5 treated access to modifiers often used in programming by placing them under the regular letters using the alt modifier.

After switching back to Swedish QWERTY I missed how presing alt would give you access to modifiers in A5. { was as easy as alt+q and ; was alt+a. When I grew more frustrated with this I started wondering if it wouldn’t be possible to combine Swedish QWERTY and Svorak somehow. I found the program Ukelele and created the first version of this unholy union. Now I could feel comfortable writing text as well as programming. In the beginning I struggled to wean myself of the old QWERTY modifiers so I modified the layout to remove the option completely. Below is a video of how this works in reality.

If you have a mac and want to try out this layout use

$ curl > ~/Library/Keyboard\ Layouts/qwerty_forced_dvorak.keylayout

and add it as a input source under System Preferences > Keyboards.