French Developer Keyboard

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 12:11 PM hacks

The French language uses an interesting range of accentuated characters such as é, ö or ç, and the default French AZERTY keyboard layout had to be organised so that these characters are not too difficult to type. As a consequence, some less-frequent characters have been moved to exotic places—usually, to a combination of AltGr and a numeric key.

For coders, especially in languages such as C# or JavaScript which love brackets and pipes and backslashes, this can quickly become rather annoying. On the other hand, going back to a more traditional US QWERTY layout is equally problematic as typing accentuated characters becomes rather tedious.

There are a surprisingly small amount of Google results about this situation. Apart from this layout by GitHub user marionus and some attempts at creating a coder-friendly Dvorak layout... I could not find anything, really.

Thus I started experimenting with my own layout. The driving idea was to bring brackets, pipes and backslashes back to their original QWERTY position, and then deal with the characters that would need to move—while trying to make it as AZERTY-friendly as possible to reduce friction.

I started designing the layout using Microsoft's own Keyboard Layout Creator but quickly switched over to a full Premium edition of KbdEdit. That's 40€ that I am quite happy to spend on a powerful tool that "just works".

After a period of experimenting and moving this around, my layout has become pretty stable:


Next step: order a custom-printed keyboard from WASD Keyboards!

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