Frustrations With Dvorak

This is the second in a series of articles about how I’m trying to reform my bad keyboarding habits as a result of Repetitive Strain Injury. Other articles in this series can be found here.

I’ve been coding for about a week now using the Dvorak keyboard layout.

Sometimes, I just get super frustrated with how hard things are and I switch back to QWERTY and get shit done. It’s a bit like binge eating when on a diet.

When I get my ErgoDox EZ some of these problems will go away because I can customize the layout.

The first thing I’ve noticed is this: name any key on the QWERTY keyboard and I can hit it with either index finger without looking. This seems like such a stupid skill, but it’s amazing how many times each day I’ve been doing it. I can’t do it with the Dvorak layout, and this has been a huge source of slowdown for me. This comes up a lot when I notice a single character that needs to be changed. My normal workflow in this scenario is to click on the offending character, hit backspace with my right index finger, then tap the correct key with my index finger.

I suspect this is only one of many “brain macros” I’ve been executing over and over all day that I’m going to have to reprogram.

Another source of frustration has been with array indexes. Specifically, array index 0.

On the Dvorak layout, the two bracket keys are just to the right of the zero. To type [0], my right pinkie has to do this weird little dance where it hits the [, then one left to hit 0, then two to the right to hit ]. I don’t like it. It feels weird.

When I had my tonsils out, my doctor told me that there would come a point at which the pain would subside to the point that I’d be able to say “if it feels like this for the rest of my life, I can live with it.” It took me about two weeks to get to that point with my tonsils. I wonder how long it will take with the keyboard?