Monday, March 03, 2008

No mnemonics in MAC OS X?

I just got a new mac book pro!! I am extremely excited about it.
I have always been a windows guy; and not, I am not exactly ashamed of it. As a developer, the majority of my career has been working on the java platform even though windows was my platform of choice for development.
Anyway, now I find my self lost around mac os x. I have to say that I am having a blast learning to work with it but today I think I found something that in my opinion is pretty serious.
As I started coding away on eclipse in my new mac I went to create a new test class and, to my surprise, eclipse has no mnemonics at all on the mac os platform. On windows I'll go shift+alt+n+j+j+enter to open the new test class dialog, alt+o to select the source folder and alt + f to finalize the wizard. On the mac I'll have to go back to using the mouse for this and many many other things I do just with the keyboard in windows.
At the beginning I thought I was missing some hack in the eclipse configuration to activate this but then realized that iTunes, or any other native mac application for that matter, have no mnemonic support at all. Then I called a fellow developer who is a big mac advocator and he pointed me out to this
(search for mnemonics) and here clearly states that mnemonics are not inline with Aqua guidelines.
Am I the only one who makes heavy use of the keyboard? How come no mac fan ever complained about not been able to drive his/her IDE from the keyboard??

10 comments:

Theo O said...

No, you're not the only one. The first weeks I went through deep ravins up to the point of wanting to through out the new MacBook altogether because there are no mnemonics like in windows. I felt and still feel like disabled. I think it's a deep shame form the side of Apple that they have not implemented an option at least to use them. Using the first letters of menu items often give completely random results and many are not even accessible. What is the use of typing the first letters of a menu time if there are several in a list that share the first five letters? It upsets me that repeated keyhits on the same character does not simply jump the cursor to the next item with the same first letter in the list. Lacking mnemonics sloooooowwwws down to the point of making me repeatedly angry about the time lost. I think it is stupid not to use the best of both worlds. Ctrl-f2 to invoke the main menu bar is too complex, Windows alt is so much more efficient. Why do I need another return to enter the menulist once I selected it with the correct key. Windows does a much much better job here. Why does Apple not just recognize this and build in an option to use it this way. My speed in Excel has deminished, which costs my boss more money than the price of a new Mac. Apple is nice, but this is just awful.

edovale said...

Thanks Theo;
it comforts me to know that I am not the only one.

Tyler said...

I feel you pain too. I feel it deeply. But playing around I discovered something. If you start typing, the cursor will jump to what you want.

So to override methods in windows I'd alt-shift-s, v. On Mac it becomes command-alt-s, o v.

Your new test case become alt-cmd-n, j u. Hope this helps =)

X-REA 4000 said...

I have to say I'm in the same boat, having a heavy reliance mnemonic key combos for Adobe products on the PC, moving to a Mac sometimes feels like a step backwards. This feels like another case of Apple being too stubborn to adopt any features that come from the windows world (right click mouse, allowing window resize on any side/corner of a window, robust sorting in Finder)

It is possible to assign custom keyboard shortcuts per application in System Preferences, but this feels like a pretty janky workaround for something that should be there already.

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Anonymous said...

Brim over I assent to but I dream the brief should acquire more info then it has.

Anonymous said...

It's because Steve didn't like to type. He thought everyone should think like he did, not "think different". It's not that Windows had them, even Linux had them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you can use them. Use [ctrl]+[option]+[the key]. For example, if you have a form with a First Name label & field, and you want 'F' to be the Mneumonic, here is the sample code...

txtLast = new javax.swing.JTextField();
lblFirst.setDisplayedMnemonic('f');
lblFirst.setLabelFor(txtFirst);
lblFirst.setText("First Name");

[alt]+[f] on windows, [ctrl]+[option]+[f] on osx

Stephen Boesch said...

This is a VERY helpful blog. Especially the hint from Tyler:

I feel you pain too. I feel it deeply. But playing around I discovered something. If you start typing, the cursor will jump to what you want.

So to override methods in windows I'd alt-shift-s, v. On Mac it becomes command-alt-s, o v.


Wow, that is SO useful.