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Every programmer has their own preference with the keyboards they use. Most of them do not use a Full-Size keyboard because it is less portable and less practical. Programmers, Coders, and even Gamers today prefer the Ten Keyless Keyboards (TKL), the compact 60%, or something similar.

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Full-sized keyboards have evolved a lot from the 20th Century to the present. I remember the time when keyboards came in just monochromatic colors of white and gray. Then it became cooler when they started making black keyboards.

Now you can get different types of keyboards according to switches, design, and layout. You can choose specific types of key switches like mechanical, rubber membrane, or topre keycaps.

Pressing mechanical keys are noisier but have a particular sound and feel. Rubber membrane keys are the classic type of keycaps that remains useful today. Topre switches are the high-end type of switches that combines both mechanical and membrane.

Modern keyboard designs are more sophisticated than ever. Simple modern sleek keyboards are becoming a popular choice aesthetically, like Apple’s Magic Keyboards. You can also get a keyboard that has RGB backlight colors on it.

Modern keyboard layouts have also changed over the course of 30 years. Most people seem to prefer keyboards without the numeric pad attached. Programmers and gamers prefer this over full-sized keyboards nowadays.

What makes a keyboard good for programming?

Keyboards are the most important tool every programmer must have. Programmers must have a reliable keyboard that can perform all their tasks in the most efficient way possible. There are many factors that make a keyboard good for programming.

Programmers usually look for a keyboard that can further optimize their workflow. Something that can make their work easier and more comfortable. Most programmers and even gamers today prefer the layouts of TKL keyboards.

TKL keyboard means Ten Keyless Keyboard. It is a term used for a specific keyboard layout that has no numeric keypad attached to it. It makes the keyboard more space-efficient and allows you to access the mouse faster.

Most programming languages do not have the need for numeric keypads. Numeric keypads are most common in offices for their efficiency in encoding numbers faster. Rather than using the numeric keys above the alphabet keys.

Without the numeric pad, you will have extra room to put your mouse closer to your keyboard. The closer proximity of your QWERTY keyboard with the mouse gives you less time to switch hands on both. It gives a programmer or any type of user less strain on their hands.

Programmers spend most of their time typing on keyboards. It is important for them to be comfortable with the kind of switches they use. Programmers have their own preferences when it comes to the kind of switches they prefer.

Some prefer the sound and feel of mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards tend to make more noise than other types of keyboards though.

Unlike Rubber Membrance switches, a mechanical switch has a spring and a slider. Pushing the spring past its trigger point to make contact with the printed circuit board. The slider allows the keys to return to their original position.

This creates a particular feel and sound when you press mechanical keyboards. Cherry Corporation invented mechanical keyboards in 1985. Their InventedMX series remains by far the most popular choice in mechanical keyboards.

MX Series comes in different colors. Each color indicates a different style of mechanical key feedback (resistance). A linear feedback keyboard only has the resistance of the spring. Tactile feedback gives a distinct click when pressed.

Red MX Series has linear feedback while Blue and Brown have tactile feedback. Brown gives lighter feedback than Blue. It makes less noise among all MX Series mechanical keyboards.

There are programmers who prefer using a high-quality type of keyboard switch. Topre style of switches mixes both good qualities of membrane and mechanical keyboard. Topre switches keyboards are available in some professional keyboards.

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Do you need a full-size keyboard for programming?

A full-size keyboard has its benefits among different types of keyboard users. Many advertised full-sized keyboards today are good in programming. Some have even made it to the list of best keyboards for Programming and Coding.

But it is not a popular choice for most programmers and coders today. They prefer a keyboard that is more portable and compact to take anywhere. Even gamers prefer lightweight keyboard versions like TKL or Compact (60%).

Real gaming keyboards available today offer efficient ways beneficial for programming as well. They provide efficient features most programmers often need in their line of work. Features like Precision, LIghting, Durability, and Macros.

Precision just like in gaming is crucial with Programmers. Anti-ghosting functions are a big help for both fields of interest. The capacity to choose lighting settings on keyboards is also an advantage.

You can adjust your keyboard easily during daytime or nighttime. It can also let you personalize your lighting according to your preference.

The durability of a keyboard is vital in programming. Once you have chosen a keyboard that works it should also withstand long hours of use. You also want a high-performing keyboard that is easier to clean.

The most important feature of a gaming keyboard for programmers is its macro functionality. Macros are the keys that can perform actual programming on the keyboard itself. Some special non-gaming keyboards have a line of macros on the right side of the keyboard for easy access.

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Gaming keyboards have them too. In some special way, both have a use for macro keys. Extra macro or function buttons on the left or right side of the keyboard exist in special keyboards strictly for programmers and coders.

Other extra keys like media keys and a programmable volume control knob are trendy right now in any type of keyboard. Programmers use it as well to further improve their productivity.

What percent keyboard is best for programming?

There is no single perfect keyboard that is the best for programming. Each programmer has different needs when it comes to using keyboards. They also have different personal preferences on how they do their job.

Keyboards that are popular right now usually fall into three form categories. The full-sized, tenkeyless (TKL), and the compactor mini.

Full-sized are the standard size of a keyboard. In total, It has 104 keys in total. If you count all the function keys on the top. If your keyboard has a numeric pad on the far right side of your keyboard then that is a full-sized keyboard.

The next one is the Tenkeyless keyboard. As mentioned, these are keyboards that do not have the numeric pad on the right side. The keyboard usually ends with the pause break key, page up and page down keys, and arrow keys.

It has some minimalism qualities that people love today. It is often the most popular modern keyboard form at present to use in gaming, coding, and programming. It is definitely easy to carry around than the full-sized.

Compact style is a more modern take on the Tenkeyless keyboard. It is gaining popularity as well for its extremely simplistic design. It is also called 60% layout. It promotes a cleaner workspace than having a full-sized keyboard.

Aside from the numeric keys, Compact keyboards do not have function keys (F1-F12) and arrow keys. A 65% version still includes arrow keys and navigation keys like Page Up and Page Down.

Keys missing on both Tenkeyless and Compact design are still accessible. By using the function (Fn) keys that exist on both forms of keyboards.

Programmers are proficient in the use of macros and functions keys. These keys are often the reason why there is no need for extra keys found in a full-size keyboard.

The best percentage of a keyboard for programmers is highly debatable. It really depends on the actual use of the programmer or coder. Each may have different methods to their job and requires different forms entirely.

How to choose a keyboard for programming?

Different types of keyboard options are readily available out there. They differ in design, layout, and features. It all depends on the specific needs and wants of a programmer. Just like physical tools, a type of keyboard may work best for a specific type of programming.

The feature in a keyboard that every programmer needs is the programmable keys. These are the special macro keys and function keys that any standard keyboard can have.

Extra special programming keyboards that look slightly different from a standard keyboard exists. It can be split or splayed, tented, or contoured in design.

There are also programming keyboards that do not have the usual QWERTY layout keyboard. Some keyboard layouts are quite common with foreign programmers. Layouts like AZERTY for French-speaking countries, QWERTZ for German-speaking ones.

DVORAK is another popular layout because of its ergonomic design. It has 70% strokes on the home row that are super important for professional programmers and coders.

You can choose from an ANSI or an ISO type of keyboard, depending on your preferences and needs as a Programmer. These are special layouts that have different sizes and orientations of keys. It is mostly used buttons like Enter, Backlash, and Left Shift.

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. And ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization.

Aside from the layouts and switch types, you can also choose to go wireless on your keyboard. Wireless technology right now produces wireless keyboards and mouses. Tenkeyless and compact keyboards are available on wireless.

It can clear up your desk by not dealing with different types of wires and cables on your workstation.

Conclusion

There are different types of keyboard users who enjoy a full-size keyboard. Some of these people can be Programmers. In some instances, a full keyboard is helpful for them.

But others might prefer a specific type of keyboard. TKL and compact keyboards have become popular over the years. Because of their minimalist approach to design and function.

They are often the first choice of most Programmers, Coders, and even Gamers today.

References:

https://www.infoq.com/articles/programmer-keyboards/

https://www.rtings.com/keyboard/reviews/best/by-usage/programming

https://www.plcgurus.net/best-keyboards-for-programming/