Supporting BlackBerry Passport – Keyboard Shortcuts

September 3, 2014 — 2 Comments

This article is a follow up of supporting blackberry passport – step one 10.2

While preparing my apps for BlackBerry Passport I notices some “problems” using shortcuts. As a good native-app-citizen I always try to provide shortcuts for users of Q5 / Q10 to ease their workflow.

Upcoming BlackBerry Passport has a much cooler and innovative keyboard: only 3 rows of physical keys plus one or more virtual rows with context-sensitive virtual keys. … will blog about this later in detail.

kbd_q10_pp

As you can see the physical keys are missing the ‘alt’ and ‘shift’ keys. Take a look at Cascades documentation on shortcuts: you’ll see that you can use shortcuts with combinations of ‘alt’ or ‘shift’ and there are some situations where I did this in my TimeTracker app (http://TimeTracker10.org)

Here’s a special screen where I’m using a Segmented TitleBar:

q10_segmented_tb

To switch between the ‘Tabs’ from Segmented TitleBar you have to tap on a Tab, which means you have to move your hand from the keyboard. Using shortcuts you can go on easy. It’s always a challenge to find the right keys working for all your screens in all languages without collision of SystemShortcuts. So I decided to number the Segments and to use the number as Shortcut key. This will be consistent through all languages and looks the same on all Pages with Segmented TitleBars.

For the user it’s easy to understand and to remember:

q10_numbered_keys

To type 1, 2, 3 or 4 you have to type ‘alt w’, ‘alt e’, ‘alt r’ or ‘alt s’. I used a trick to display the numbers:

shortcuts: [
    Shortcut {
        key: "2"
    },
    Shortcut {
        key: qsTr("Alt + e")
    }
]

You can define more then one shortcut for an Actionitem and Cascades will always show the first one. So in this case the ‘2’ will be visible, but to type a ‘2’ in reality the user has to press ‘alt’ and ‘e’.

Now with Passport there’s no ‘alt’ and there are no numbers, so my tricky workaround won’t work on this screen:

passport_segmented_tb

Here’s a possible solution:

shortcuts: [
    Shortcut {
        key: app.isPassport()?qsTr("D"):"2"
    },
    Shortcut {
        key: qsTr("Alt + e")
    }
]

It’s up to you: change all shortcuts or provide different sets for Q5/Q10 vs Passport. Using shortcuts like ‘D’ it’s important to make them translatable – then you can translate them easy without changing the code itself.

Here are the new shortcuts on Passport:

IMG_20140903_130049

BTW: take a look at the screen layout: BlackBerry Passport allows to place big icons to ‘jump’ to other areas. (Users of this app like it to have big buttons)

Remark: I have to redesign the upscaled Icons to make them look better – it’s on the ToDo😉

See the bigger picture

Have fun moving your apps forward to BlackBerry Passport !

… and don’t forget: See the bigger picture soon in Toronto, London or Dubai.

2 responses to Supporting BlackBerry Passport – Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. 

    Is there a way to change what appears in the virtual (touch screen) keyboard? , ie, a dash instead of a period?

    • 

      not yet, but a great idea
      open a feature request in IssueTracker
      to be able to define a custom-fourth-virtual-row-of-keys
      I’ll vote for this Issue and promote via twitter

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