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Thread: Companion Porgram for Tablet PC's (and regular ones, too!)

  1. #1
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    Companion Porgram for Tablet PC's (and regular ones, too!)

    I have been searching for a small utility that would make it easier to create artwork on a Tablet PC with no keyboard accessible (so either a pure tablet, or a convertible in tablet position). This could be useful to someone using a drawing tablet while pulled away from their keyboard, too.

    The program would simply be a set of small pallete of floating buttons that toggle the state of the control, alt, and shift keys -- and maybe optionally add a few more, like Enter and Tab. It should be pretty small, have no title bar, and be movable.

    I have seen several similar requests on the various Tablet PC sites. What I have found are whole keyboards that can pop-up - which is overkill and interferes with your workflow and creativity. The attached image is of one virtual keyboard that I found that was "skinnable." I was able to remove all but the upper four keys and define them as you see them in the picture. Unfortunately, the program is buggy as all get out, and the developer is nowhere to be found. The little keyboard icon is always on screen, and the larger keyboard keys are toggled on by clicking the always-on-top icon. I would prefer the on-top icon just be the toggle keys themselves.

    I tried writing one, but my programming skills are about zilch in this area. I couldn't figure out how to write a program that doesn't steal focus, and also had problems setting the keyboard state (versus stuffing keystrokes in the message queue of the window - if that made sense).

    Anyhow -- if some Ambient coder wants to make a hugely valuable contribution to the good of all society (beyond ArtRage, of course), this would be an excellent start! (Oh, and to be greedier about it -- make it stand-alone, not part of ArtRage, so we can use it in 'those other' art programs, too.) Of course, having these just in ArtRage would be fine, too!

    David
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  2. #2
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    a tablet oversight

    I have to agree about this oversight... why is it that Tablet PCs still give users no convenient way to use CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT ???

    Aside from using these in various art programs, these keys are often needed when multi-selecting items in drop-down lists in many types of programs... etc.

    This little utility should really have been included in one of those add-on packs for Windows XP Tablet version.

  3. #3
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    By the way, my search continues. I actually managed to get the sourcecode to that bit of abandon-ware Imentioned, but I have noy had time to look at it.

    It is on my list of things I will, unfortunately, never get to, as I it was written in old version of VB -- a language that I haven't programmed in, nor do I have the application itself. That mean's I would have to re-write it in something current, which I just don't have the time or expertise to do.

    Drats.

    D.

  4. #4
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    Here's my attempt:-
    http://webplus.forum.chit-chat.co.uk/temp/Tabkeys.zip

    Press Esc to close it.

    Limitations
    ------------
    Steals focus - but sorta ok with it?
    Titlebar visible - though its good for moving it
    ATM, you need to reset the buttons before closing
    Could do with skinning

    I dont think I'll get a chance to update it anytime soon but maybe its less buggy than your current one

  5. #5
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    Cool - thanks! I just played with it for a few minutes, and it seemed to work fine.

    What language did you write it in? I'm hoping you say C#, because I want to mess with that language -- and then I'd beg you for the source code, too!

    Thanks for writing. I hope it was fun for you!

    D.

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    Its written in C++ using Visual C++ version 5 (which has support for the original Intel Macs :lol: ).

    I think you'd need Visual C++ to use the source. I can send you it if you still want it though?

  7. #7
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    Do you know if I could use Visual Studio .NET to work it? That is what I have access to.

    Thanks,
    D.

  8. #8
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    Rock and roll!!!! At last!!!! Wow! What a useful little app. I bought a small usb keyboard to carry around with me SPECIFICALLY for the shift-control-alt function. Now I can ditch it. (Not that I ever carried it around with me anyway. I had this annoying way of twisting the screen up, doing the keyboard thing using the actual keyboard, and then converting it back to tablet mode. What a schlepp.)

    Thanks for making this.

    Blue skies
    love
    Roy
    ROY BLUMENTHAL

    Visual Facilitator: http://royblumenthal.com/portfolio

    ArtRage 3.5.5 and 4.0.4 on:
    Fujitsu T901, Asus R1E

  9. #9
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    No worries Roy, I'm glad you find it useful

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    hey I'm diggin this program you whipped up. would be nice to have it "nest" in the title bar area, but I admire your ability to program. way to go!
    I was doing the same thing Roy was on my Toshiba. This helps a bunch.

    Thanks!
    Greg -

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