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Would it be possible to add a Hebrew virtual keyboard to the edit and comment boxes so that we can type in hebrew, should the need arise?

Right now I'm either cutting and pasting, or just transliterating what I want to quote.

  • 5
    That would be awesome. – Isaac Moses Jun 5 '11 at 4:13
  • 2
    Any reason doing this in your OS isn't suitable? – Rebecca Chernoff Jun 5 '11 at 4:24
  • I never tried to do it with my OS. I was thinking about a virtual keyboard that would pop up in the edit box if needed, kind of like this one: hebrew-keyboard.com (although that one is there all the time) – Menachem Jun 5 '11 at 4:36
  • @Rebecca If you know any easy ways to enable Hebrew typing, please add an answer to this question. – Isaac Moses Jun 5 '11 at 4:36
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses, I googled for a guide and added it to msh's answer there. – Rebecca Chernoff Jun 5 '11 at 4:47
  • 1
    @Rebecca, better bi-di support would also be blessed. – AviD Jun 5 '11 at 6:29
  • @RebeccaChernoff To sweeten the deal, you can throw in other keyboards that would be useful for other sites. I.e., accented chars for French, German, and Spanish sites. (Chinese and Japanese keyboards might be too unwieldy, but then again, I have no idea). – HodofHod Jun 1 '12 at 20:13
  • This one has vowels: 1 | This one is phonetic: 2 – b a Jul 3 '12 at 5:37
  • 1
    @ba: Google translate now has a phonetic option as well. – Menachem Jul 4 '12 at 0:03
  • 2
    As well as google translate (need to set phonetic typing yourself), there's Google transliterate. I can't read a letter of Hebrew, but I can type מזל טוב. – Andrew Grimm Aug 9 '12 at 22:14
  • Great idea. I just was about to ask. Also add this to chat when it comes to be, please! – Charles Koppelman Jun 4 '13 at 16:23
  • @AndrewGrimm: Google Transliterate is now part of the Google Input Tools suite. Your link is only useful for native Hebrew speakers. If your native language is English and you want to type in Hebrew or Yiddish, you should go here instead. – unforgettableid Apr 13 '17 at 11:47
12

I'm Laura, a product manager at Stack Exchange.

We've implemented the Hebrew keyboard as an experiment to see if this is a tool we should develop further and offer as an add-on feature for communities like this one that have a valid need to quote or reference texts in in languages that use non-Latin alphabets.

The feature is based on HodofHod's user script. It works for question bodies and answers on the main site, and it's a new button right in the editing menu:

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; there are a few reasons for that. First, like I said, this is an experiment, so we wanted to cover the most important use cases without fully fleshing out a feature that we haven't decided yet to permanently integrate into our system. If you need to post in Hebrew outside a question or answer body, you can use the body field to type with the virtual keyboard, then copy it to where you actually want to post. The other reason for not adding this support outside of main content areas is a UI reason: it becomes much more difficult to find an obvious but unobtrusive way to call up the keyboard when it's not part of a full formatting menu.

As I mentioned before, this is an experiment. Therefore, if there's something buggy, weird, or missing, feel free to let us know here on Meta Mi Yodeya. If it's a success, we may add this as another tool that we can add to sites where it seems appropriate and useful.

  • 2
    Product Manager? When did that happen? Congratulations on the new (?) position! – Isaac Moses Sep 4 '13 at 18:02
  • @IsaacMoses A few months ago. Thanks :) – Laura Sep 4 '13 at 18:22
  • @IsaacMoses It's almost the same job she did previously, except that she's now allowed to yell at us developers. – balpha Sep 5 '13 at 18:55
  • 1
    First of all, this is awesome. A couple thoughts 1) is it possible to have the hebrew keyboard have the hebrew keyboard layout, at least as an option? 2) any consideration to adding a spacebar key to the virtual keyboard? – Menachem Sep 8 '13 at 4:47
  • @Menachem: I'm curious what the purpose of the spacebar would be. The idea isn't to replace your keyboard, but to augment it with characters you don't already have. HodofHod's script is somewhat more fully featured and includes the standard layout. It might help us understand the need if you could describe how you use (or hope to use) the keyboard. – Jon Ericson Sep 16 '13 at 16:56
  • 1
    I use the keyboard when I'm input in Hebrew word(s). Most of the time it is more than one word and using the mouse to input the space doesn't break the workflow like going back to the keyboard in order to input a space – Menachem Sep 16 '13 at 17:47
  • Thank you very much! – Avrohom Yitzchok Oct 23 '13 at 18:48
  • Thanks I was able to use it and it worked out well. – sabbahillel Apr 15 '16 at 19:09
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It looks like you're trying to get a feature request implemented. You should totally drop that and try jQuery. ;)

I've thrown together (in jQuery) a really quick keyboard userscript (installation instructions). It will insert a button into the post editor and into chat, that toggles an on-screen Hebrew keyboard. It's draggable, and resizable, and awesome. Really. There are some screenshots below. You should check them out.

¿Preguntas? ¿Comentarios? Let me know!


Couple things to note:

  • Hebrew input still has all of its signature finickiness. Nothing I can do about this, that I know of. I've added an ‏ key to help. You're on your own from here.
  • This is currently limited to Mi Yodeya and Biblical Hermeneutics. It is future-proofed for Hebrew.SE, whenever that happens.
  • The default layout is alephbetical. If you prefer the קראטו layout, click "Settings" and check the box that says "Use standard layout."
  • The ‏ key inserts the unicode entity, which is pretty much invisible. If you prefer it added as text, there's a setting for that, too. Note that SE's chat will not convert the html entity ‏ to unicode, so this setting only applies for non-chat textfields.
  • The keyboard is textfield agnostic. It will insert characters into whatever textfield has, or last had, focus.

  • Before y'all ask, I think meseg and rafe and maqaf and paseq and sof pasuk is pushing it. You got mapik/dagesh/shuruk, and that oughta keep you busy for a while. (Ok, I'm kidding; if you want it, I'll add it. :D)


In chat, the button is right next to the send button:

The right side of the Stack Exchange Chat message-entry box, with an extra button labeled with the letter 'aleph' (circled) next to the "Send" and "Upload" buttons.

Everywhere else, the keyboard button appears in a fixed location on the bottom left of your browser window.

Keyboard looks like this:
Hebrew keyboard, with the buttons in aleph-betical order, plus vowel-points along the bottom, and a "‏" button on the top-left.

And the settings like this:

Two checkbox options: "Use standard layout" and "Insert ‏ as text (posts only)

  • 6
    This is awesome. – hairboat Aug 7 '13 at 12:32
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The one at the top-right-hand corner of the page at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/ has the following good aspects:

  • It's small (compact), not taking up a lot of screen 'real estate'.
  • It's easy to use.
  • How to use it is intuitive AFAICT, not requiring a "help" link.
  • It's in alphabetical order, so those unused to Hebrew-layout keyboards can use it easily. (Those used to Hebrew-layout keyboards can presumably use their keyboards and don't need one on-screen.)

However, it has the following bad aspects:

  • It doesn't include vowels. But IMO that's okay: most often, one doesn't need them; when someone does, he can use other means of typing Hebrew.
  • It always pastes to the end of the input box, not wherever the cursor is. But that requires a change in the JS which I suspect is easy to effect, and no change in the UI.
  • 1
    The one at Google Translate (select From: Hebrew, to see it) is also really good and does include nekudos support. Unfortunately typing nekudos is always a pain (Use shift and one of the top row of the keyboar - while caps lock is on) – yydl Jun 14 '11 at 18:32
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    @yydl but the one at Google Translate is in keyboard-order, so it's very annoying for those who are not used to Hebrew keyboards (or at least to me :-) ). (And I suppose most people who are used to them don't need on-screen keyboards, as they'll just use their own keyboards.) – msh210 Jun 14 '11 at 18:54
  • Ah, I see. I'm actually used to the (standard) קראטו keyboard layout. But I suppose you have a point. Perhaps this can be a preference setting. – yydl Jun 14 '11 at 18:55
  • This one is very good mechon-mamre.org/searchgh.htm – Meir Zirkind Aug 11 '13 at 4:41

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