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Cover image for What is your preferred keyboard for programming?

What is your preferred keyboard for programming?

gene profile image Gene ・1 min read

I've been using a cheap mechanical (gaming) keyboard for more than 2 years now. It is just really recent that I use it more for programming and it feels uncomfortable.

I will buy a new one. What do you recommend?

Discussion

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Dell SK-8135
It's an old keyboard, I think from 2005-2007, but it's one of the best keyboards I've used, some function and multimedia keys.
It's the keyboard where I can type the fastest way possible :)

 

That's my old reliable standby which I let the kids use on the home PC. (I use a re-arranged Sun Type 6 myself, for it's Unix nostalgia).

The Dell takes a beating well, keys aren't too bad for a rubber-dome, media keys are handy. I leave this one in QWERTY too.

 

Euw... Type 6.

The Sun4 keyboard (the one that shipped with the SPARCStation 2) was the best keyboard Sun ever put out. Throughout the 90s, I dragged one with me from job to job.

SGI's US-101 that came with the Indigo22 Impact series was pretty decent too.

I agree, the Type 4 was a pretty nice keyboard. I can't find one that's also USB though, and my Type 6 was a dumpster refugee.

I'd chose an IBM Model M remake over the SGI.

The new Kinesis Freestyle would be a good, ergo facsimile of the Sun layout, if you add a number pad.

 

I bought an expensive mechanical keyboard myself from Razer I hate it because the key width is so small so I naturally hit the wrong keys and it's too dang loud. Now I'm trying to find old membrane keyboards. I think keyboards have gone down in general they're no longer practical and I'm 27 yrs old so it's not like I'm not with the times.

 

You want expensive mechanical, try one of these beasties!

steampunk

 

I want Dell to bring back the SK-8135 and either make it wireless and/or have that LED backlighting.

 
 

I have one of these and I like it...

daskeyboard.com/

I've never been super picky about keyboards, but I've been satisfied with this one and that might make me more picky if I ever needed to switch 😄

 

I own a Das for a while now. I have the ultimate version with blank keys and karabiner for some customizations like ctrl instead of caps lock and some other actions for useless keys.

I love it and wouldn’t change for now.
The only thing is that I don’t use the num keys in the right. I’d enjoy more if it was a TKL.

 

Hey, I also have one of their keyboards. Unfortunately they messed up the UK layout and don't want to fix it. :-( But besides that, the keyboard is really good.

 

Gonna love this for sure! I’ve heard so much about this but sadly it’s not available here yet.

 

I'm using a Logitech G910. It's mechanical, although not a high end model among the mechanical keyboards world, but it has 6 keys you can attatch commands to, or simply remap.
For my job, I use Screenshot, Undo, Cut, Copy and Paste, so I still have some spare customizable kyes.
Also, the keyboard support 3 profiles. They're not on-board profiles (so you have to set them up via the Logitech Gaming Software), but you can switch between them with physical keys.

 

Having spare customizable keys are nice. Although I never really used any of that before. Could help me become more productive.

 

Ughhh I can't find any of this here too :(

Any of what? mechanical keyboard insight?
If nice backlight colors or programmable keys aren't your thing, then have a look at wasdkeyboards.com they're rather expensive, but given the fact that you basically get to decide the color of every single keycap and the keyboard distribution, then it's probably worth it.
You also have several mechanical switch options and keyboard sizes.

 

Anne Pro 2. I have 2 that I use. One with Kailh Box White switches (in white) and this one with Gateron Red. Love them both. I've remapped the keys on the bottom right to arrows and everything else is on function layers (caps lock is mapped to function)

 

Microsoft Wired 600. I've been using this as my main keyboard since around the time if my first PC. At the start of this year I replaced the keyboard (which was built in 2010) with a new one. I really like how flat it is and it looks so nice sitting on my yellow keyboard pad.

 

Can you share a photo? I’d like to see it

 

Amateurs! Get a QMK programmable keyboard. Once you go QMK, you can't go back. What is QMK? It's an open source keyboard firmware. You can customize your layout online, download the firmware, then flash it. Most keyboards have some sort of software you use that let you make a couple macro keys and a couple of profiles. Well, you aren't limited by what the software gives you anymore with QMK. You can make almost as many layers as you want where each layer has their own keyboard layout. My keyboard? I have 8 layers. Layers for fps games, rts games, a function layer, a symbol layer, list goes on. Also get yourself a kaihua hotswap switch keyboard so you can swap your switches any time you want.

 

Haha this one’s exciting.

 
 

Interesting! How have you customised it?

 

Was a glitch uploading original image. I reupholstered the pads with some pimping felt...

 

Still loving the Microsoft Ergo 4000.

 

My Ergo 4K space-bar cracked, and before that it developed a rather pronounced squeak. It's still usable, but not my fave anymore. It's a good, cheap keyboard to try if you're thinking about getting a "fancy ergonomic" keyboard but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for something you're unsure about. When I've been asked about the TEK I used to use, I would give people the MS4K to try.

 

wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/produc...

I’ve been loving my customised 87 key from wasd

The new online customiser is a bit of fun too

 

seems like this is the most recommended here

 

I loved my Truly Ergonomic TEK-207 But 5 of the keys eventually stopped working well. I've been trying to clean it up but not getting far. Heartbroken.

The current TEK CLEAVE has infra-red keys which probably would solve my problem. But I'm sort-of saving up to buy an ErgoDox EZ Glow, in black, and Batman my setup to the hilt.

Both are "ortholinear" instead of staggered like a type-writer. Took some getting used to, but I sure miss that now I'm stuck on this old Apple keyboard that I'm currently using.

If you wish to re-arrange the key-caps (you use something other than QWERTY, such as Dvorak or Colomak) then you'll want to get a keyboard that doesn't "sculpt" the keys at different heights.

 

Ergo keyboards looks really weird to me. But I heard about all the benefits.

 

I have been using the CODE keyboard for years as my daily driver. Its a mechanical keyboard with mx clear switches.

codekeyboards.com/

What I will say is keyboard preference is a really personal choice. It's the only bit of kit that will out live all your laptops and pc's and could easily last you for life. It will also be the tool you are relying on when sh#t hits the fan during your career.

As much as possible ask to borrow other people's kit and see what works for you. My thinking on a keyboard is buy something you will enjoy working on daily, don't get sucked by gimmicks. Whilst a good keyboard might cost anything from $60—$200 over 15 years it is not that expensive so pick well.

After writing code for over 17 years I have about 6 keyboards in a cupboard. Some of which i will regularly switch out or a might use for specific use cases (my poker3 keyboard for travel mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index...)

 

Been using a CODE for about 4 years now. SOLID.

 

I’ve used HHKBs for years and can’t ever see myself using something else.

 

What HHKB are using now? Professional 2?

 

I’ve got a Professional 1 and Professional 2 Type-S, both are white with blanks.

Functionally they’re the same, but the Pro 1 is a little stiffer because it’s ten years older than my Pro 2.

 

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop: Love the keyboard, hate the mouse (prefer a Logitech m570 trackball instead).

Before I switched to the MS Sculpt, it was an early-2000s vintage Cirque Smooth Cat mechanical ergonomic keyboard. It served me well for a good 10+ years; and remains tucked in the closet waiting to be used again if the MS keyboard should ever fail.

 

Aside from its benefits, and out of all the ergo keyboards I’ve seen so far this one looks sleek

 

Spoiler alert: Razer bias

I used two Razer keyboards before the Anansi which got quite heavy and sticky (I live in the middle of a desert, so there's too much fine sand on the environment) on the keys. Then I switched to a DeathStalker Chroma which is quite similar to a laptop keyboard. I really liked that but then this friend comes and tells me if I'm selling that.
Today I use a Razer Huntsman
which is... awesome (at least for me) I hadn't ever used a mechanical keyboard for more than like... couple hours of gaming at a friends house but I felt them like lovely for the clicky sound but after some time I felt my hands kinda tired

the Huntsman on the other hand it feels really light on your hands. Sometimes extra light. If I rest my hands with a little more pressure the keys fire off.

But overall I really like it. If you are sensitive to the noise these mechanical things do... perhaps this is not the best keyboard for you. Sometimes they keys bounce up too hard and the spring that keeps it together kind of resonates like a small metalic hummm

 

Mechanical but it’s sounds soft. I’ve tried it.

 

My preference is an ergo-keyboard with integrated track-pad. That said, when I'm at the office, I can't attach one to the work computers and, when I'm remote, I have a laptop and I've yet to find a laptop with an ergo-keyboard option.

 

For me I'm a huge fan of split keyboards. My daily driver for over 10 years has been a Kinesis Freestyle. I really enjoy the endless amounts of positioning variation it brings. Plus without it having a number pad I have a lot more space on my desk and my mouse isn't way far off to the side.
Kinesis Freestyle with VIP3 Kit

The Kinesis Freestyle 2 is a membrane keyboard. But if you prefer mechanical they offer the Kinesis Pro.

 

Top end keyboards are a bit like pens.

Some will get you a bit of temporary recognition and business status; but, none of them will make the output better.

Don't get to tied up in the choosing, focus on the writing.

That said, I have a DAS, and it's been a good keyboard. But I have a Mont Blanc pen too. Neither one improves the thought process, or the writing; but, they are both pleasures to use.

 

What I look for in my primary keyboard is red back-light. On a default-layout'ed keyboard (no fancy layouts, that's very important). And no easily accessible power/standby-key. And it got to have media keys. That's all. I also try to select the least noisy keyboard but that's secondary priority. But that means I have to buy those expensive RGB keyboards because a keyboard with only red back light is rare. RGB keyboards means software drivers, usually buggy. And generally low lifetime. ☹ But its worth it for being able to turn of the light and sit and write in the dark.

So I'm currently using a Steelseries RGB keyboard. It works okay except for a few bugs and that they usually stops working after a year. But its a very comfortable keyboard. Every key is where its supposed to be, and well-sized keys with decent weight to them. And the switches isn't too noisy.

 

for me it's TADA 68 with gateron browns and Filco Majestouch 2 with silent reds

 

wasdkeyboards.com/ - the louder the better. I have one at work and the same at home. Good stuff.

 

I recently bought a DREVO Blade Master Pro. I love the design and the quality.

 

I’ll look for this. Hopefully it’s available here

 

I use a WASDv2, with clear switched. It's a little noisy, but a joy to type with.

wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/wasd-v...

 

I bought one off of Amazon Red Dragon with cherry blue keys. Surprised with how good the good keyboard is.

 

Typematrix

Takes some effort to get used to, but always way better results and easier to use.