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Over on the Judaism site, HodofHod implemented an integrated virtual keyboard for typing Hebrew:

Hebrew virtual keyboard

The keyboard works on Biblical Hermeneutics and will work on Hebrew Language & Usage if and when that goes live.

This seems like an idea that could easily be extended to other languages/scripts: German, Chinese, Russian, etc. For some sites, it would be helpful to have more than one keyboard. (Hebrew and Greek for the Bible site, for instance.) While nothing is stopping people from forking the code and extending the idea, it would help a lot more people if the feature were built into the various sites.

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What's ‏? –  animuson Aug 7 '13 at 15:55
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@animuson: right-to-left direction mark, to switch the text display direction (overriding the paragraph default, usually needed for punctuation to be applied in the right location). Rather handy when typing in a language meant to be read from right-to-left, I'd expect. :-) –  Martijn Pieters Aug 7 '13 at 16:01
    
It would make sense to me to also add the ‎ to that. –  Oded Aug 7 '13 at 20:40
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@Oded: Or maybe even a left/right toggle? –  Jon Ericson Aug 7 '13 at 20:43
    
@JonEricson - Yeah. At least in Windows when having multiple keyboards installed, these are keyboard toggles, so a similar toggle may make sense. –  Oded Aug 7 '13 at 20:45
    
Just curious: why don't people who know these languages already have some means to type them? (For the same reason I never understand why some sites makes it easier to input extended ASCII, like é and ë. Those who need those symbols should learn to use them anywhere, I'd say.) –  Arjan Sep 3 '13 at 19:25
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@Arjan: I have some serious reservations about implementing a virtual keyboard on, say, Spanish. The point of the site is to help people learn the language and they should figure out how to type special characters without our help. But Judaism and Biblical Hermeneutics are a bit different since users are not there to learn Hebrew (except by proximity). Typing Hebrew should not be a barrier to using the site. I'd argue against including this feature if the Hebrew proposal were launched. –  Jon Ericson Sep 3 '13 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

We've implemented the Hebrew keyboard as an experiment on Mi Yodeya and Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange.

It works for question bodies and answers on the main site, and it's a new button in the editing menu: enter image description here

Clicking the icon for the Hebrew keyboard will pop up a box (which you can drag to wherever you'd like it on the screen). The keyboard will automatically disappear when you click outside of the main body area.

The virtual keyboard is not available for comments, question titles, or tag fields; it would probably be used less there, and it was much harder to find an intuitive, easy-to-use way to call up the keyboard if it wasn't in the menu with the other formatting options.

As I mentioned before, this is an experiment. Therefore, if there's something buggy, weird, or missing, feel free to let us know (here, or on metas for Mi Yodeya or Hermeneutics). If it's a success, we may add this as another tool that bilingual SE communities can request.

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Nice! May I suggest an IPA keyboard for Linguistics.SE as well? Alenanno once requested me to write one, I came up with this though it's not as good as the one on Hebrew.SE. –  Manishearth Sep 8 '13 at 17:50

Wow! I didn't expect this to be this popular. I threw it together since I saw this exact feature request was languishing on Mi Yodeya's Meta. The keys' layout gets a little messed up on Macs but it still functions.

This (and some of my other scripts), besides being a useful tool for its users, is a proof of concept. Proof that people want this, and that it wouldn't be too hard to implement (I'm an amateur hobbyist, not a professional. I didn't know any jQuery a month and a half ago).

I'm hoping that SE will implement something similar; that would be really great!

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Color me impressed with your ability to learn and apply your knowledge. The reference citation script is excellent too. –  Jon Ericson Aug 7 '13 at 21:04
    
@Jon In all fairness, StackOverflow helped a bit ;) –  HodofHod Aug 7 '13 at 22:21

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