How can you improve your productivity when coding on a split keyboard?

by Salvador Feliu on July 27, 2021

Simple, by tackling the two biggest productivity-killers in the field: the lack of a specific tool for the craft and health issues. 

Yes, a fully programable ergonomic split keyboard can help in those areas! This is not a conclusion we made lightly. We interviewed some expert programmers who have been using the Dygma Raise for quite some time.

Let me introduce our panel of experts:

  • Massimiliano "MasdelR"; If you ever had a problem with the Raise or with Battletech and asked on Reddit, he's probably helped you one way or another.
  • Marlon "MrMarlon"; our firmware and software are what they are thanks to users like him. Marlon is patient, critical, and helpful in giving us feedback.
  • Nazmul "gNazmul", a former Google programmer, entrepreneur, and keyboard enthusiast, he's reviewed several ergonomic split keyboards and seemed like an obvious choice when it came to expertise.

Not only did we draw conclusions from their first-hand experience, but we also used these interviews to gather a few practical advice.

Let's start with the first productivity-killer:

THE LACK OF A SPECIFIC TOOL FOR THE TRADE

Different programming languages have different ways to space words, add new lines, or delete. So the traditional QWERTY layout may not be optimal in these cases.

Massimiliano decided to adapt his layout to accommodate it to his needs; Python programming. He moved the underscore function to two of the spacebar keys because he uses them "as much as the spacebar".

Massimiliano layer

He also created a special layer for debugging purposes, and a navigation layer to reduce mouse usage.

 

Massimiliano layer 1

 

Marlon's job is more focused on editing and works with a wide array of programming languages and software. So his goal was to create a universal layer that could fit his different needs without getting too specific.

Finding the right spot for the arrows and modifiers for text selection are some of the goals of this layout.

Marlon layer 0
Marlon layer 1

 

As for Nazmul, his biggest buying point for the raise was the thumb keys, so that's the part of the keyboard he really worked on. He concentrated all his modifiers in this area and found it improved his workflow.

Nazmul layer 0

 

As you may see, there's not an exact path or a perfect setup. You could go for Massimiliano's multi-layer system, or the more minimalistic approach taken by Nazmul and Marlon.

You can improve your productivity while coding if you can adapt your tool to your needs. To do so, you need a configurable keyboard so you can explore the possibilities and find the configuration that suits you best.

If you are interested in any of the layouts or any other content created by our Dygmates, visit their Github sites: Massimiliano, Marlon, and Nazmul

DEALING WITH HEALTH ISSUES

If your hands, your back, or your head are hurting, your productivity is going to sink. There's no way around it.

All our Dygmates suffered some level of pain before they purchased the Dygma Raise.

  • In Massimiliano's case, it was a pain on his neck and back due to leaning to the right side of the keyboard to reach the mouse.
  • Nazmul was aching in his wrists and forearms due to the way he moved his hands on the keyboard to reach for keys like backspace, ESC, and the control keys on both sides.
  • Marlon even had to take some days off due to the pain he was through.

In all three cases, their conditions improved thanks to the ergonomic split design of the Raise. They all agree that it is never too soon to upgrade your setup to a more ergonomic one.

So learn from their lessons and pay attention to your workstation. The height of the chair and the table, the position of your hands while typing, and the position of your peripherals (the monitor and the mouse) are the basics.

Always listen to your body's feedback and try to improve your working conditions every day. Review your working habits and implement healthy habits little by little, it will save you lots of time in the long run.

THE ADAPTATION PROCESS

Some people may think that the adaptation process is too complicated to make the change worth it.

Well, the Raise is designed to make the transition easier since you can adjust the split little by little.

Plus, if you or any member of your family prefers a traditional one, you can reattach it the two halves at any point, and still enjoy all the configuration and the 8 thumb keys features.

In case you are wondering if it's complicated moving from a regular keyboard to a split one, we have one answer:

Once you try a split keyboard, you'll have more trouble using your old one than the other way around.

When asked about it, Massimiliano said he felt "like a mummy" when he was typing on a laptop, due to the constrained position of his hands and body.

Nazmul compared using a split ergonomic keyboard to drinking clean water and using a regular keyboard to drinking polluted one. No one will go back to drinking the polluted one.

Marlon preferred the split keyboard, but he did not have such strong feelings against the regular ones, that's probably because he uses his laptop to work outdoors, and that's a great associated perk we can't match... yet. 

THE REAL INSIGHT

An ergonomic split keyboard is an upgrade in the health department. And It can be customized to fill each coder's personal needs thanks to Bazecor, the configurator software of the Raise.

If you want to know more about our Dygmates, check out this video from our Youtube channel: Programmers give a REAL INSIGHT on the Dygma Raise

If you are a programmer and you want to propel your productivity, take a look at our store and get your own Dygma Raise, you won't regret it!

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and matte black or silver white.
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