Keyboard Coding

Posted: April 5, 2008 in Immersive Scripting

I thought something as simple and as common as a virtual or on screen keyboard would be a doddle to find on sites like my old favourite, as it turns out, not so easy after all.

I spent some evenings trawling the web for all manner of keyword combinations and I came up with a couple of options like the flash Virtual Keyboard which I found on Unfortunately I did not get any of the details from the site as I assumed there would be details in the scripting. It would appear not to be the case.


As it is this is much more complicated than I actually need and so I printed off the action script for it to see if I could work out how to reuse the elements I needed. I also kept looking for other keyboards.

I found this one by Design in Style which sounds out the letters for you. It may be an interesting addition although I would have to take advice on how distracting it may be for the students to use.


I found another one which was perfect. It had a sounded word which you then had to type in and pres enter to see if it was right. The only problem with this was, where the flash document and script were supposed to be, there was a message to email the maker for the full code. ~I did this but so far and a few weeks later, I still have had no reply. But at the very least I know that it can be done.

I decided to try a last random Google search to see if I could produce anything at all which would better help me to understand the way this game might work. I had completely underestimated the power of the Blog. I remember when blogs first started to be mentioned and it really did seem to be a realm for the nerdier members of society. Then with the advent of social networking sites and the online communities which have sprung up around games and other common interests, it seems that the internet or world wide web was overrun with people who all had an opinion on something.

Trawling through masses of forums and blogs does seem to be a good way of getting information on pretty much anything nowadays, but I hadn’t reckoned on the power of the Google engine.

There it was, a link to a blog page in which some lovely chap had not only posted his keyboard to be played with but downloadable too. This was found at Noel Billig’s web page/blog It is a very simple keyboard but it does exactly what I need it to, with a few elements I don’t need. So rather than just being able to use it directly I should have to modify it for my purposes which should provide me with an interesting learning outcome even if I don’t get it working properly.

I printed off the action script files to go with this flash document and have started to work my way through them to see just how much of an understanding I had of the coding. I was vary pleasantly surprised to see that the code was extremely well commented. In fact this is the best I have seen so far. Which given my limited knowledge of Action Scripting is possibly not saying much, but I have to say the comments have really helped with my understanding of what each bit does.

For example the onscreenkeyboard action script document has all the information in it which makes all the extra keys, such as the shifted keys for capitals and symbols. This in turn has helped me to go a little nearer towards comprehending the relations between ‘classes’,’ arrays’ and ‘calling’ things from one piece of scripting form another. I shall be working through the various scripts and trying to apply it to my parchment scroll keyboard.keyboard_scroll.png


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