Purism Is Proposing A Virtual Keyboard Protocol For Wayland

Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 18 May 2018 at 12:32 AM EDT. 4 Comments
Purism's Dorota Czaplejewicz has been active within the Wayland community recently as they work on their Librem 5 phone Wayland compositor and Phosh shell for this software stack and iMX8 hardware they hope to begin shipping next year.

On behalf of Purism, Dorota's latest Wayland work is proposing a new virtual keyboard protocol for Wayland. This allows for the emulation of keyboards by applications and complements the existing input-method protocol. The new virtual-keyboard protocol is based upon the Wayland keyboard specification but with support for seat bindings and dropping serials.

Purism is developing this virtual keyboard protocol for Wayland for use with on-screen keyboards on a phone screen. While others have managed Wayland on-screen keyboards without a separate protocol, Dorota commented, "The need for this protocol comes from the fact that the input-method protocol combines two separate input responsibilities. It currently deals both with text input and raw keyboard events. I hope to split input-method along this line into virtual-keyboard and the rest of input-method...Applications should be able to control both interfaces at the same time. A screen keyboard supporting autocorrect (input-method) still wants to send arrow keys (virtual-keyboard) correctly. Because of this, both kinds of events at minimum must be sent to the same seat."

This unstable protocol proposal can be found for now on Wayland-devel.
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