Thoughts of modal/semi-modal editing on Android

In regards to modal, I mean `like vi`, where in the keyboard is shifted between a normal “Command” mode for manipulating text and an “Insert” mode for typing text into the buffer. A prime example can be found by learning vi (or vim or elvis). Personally I think this kind of model fits well with a mobile device like Android, even more so than it does a PC—emacs pinky be damned ;). Which makes me think of something like this:

  • A simple “Notepad” grade editor
  • Press a designated command key, send following keystrokes to command dispatcher
  • Useful stuff: save/load, buffer list, etc.
  • Scripting/configuration language

Something uniquely respective of my vi/vim heritage, yet incorporating lessons from the emacsen school. As a former XEmacs user, I do know quite well that my beloved Vi IMproved is not always well subverted. Using the volume up/down keys (and settings to rebind ofc) would make perfect replacements for Control and Meta (Alt/Escape). Using a keyboard with suitable keys, obviously eliminates this: and for on screen work with a big enough display, I really have to reccomend The Hackers Keyboard. It is an interesting preposition, at least. For scripting language, that one is a stickly wickly one. Android is not well suited to this in the conventional sense. Unless you want to implement one in a suitable subset of Java (double barf). An interesting idea would be to compile something like Lua or a Scheme interp’ to native code, and communicate with it using some type of local socket and RPC. That might be interesting to toy with. Then perhaps, “Plugin-lets” that add useful tools, such as busybox or git. That’s less feasible but certainly interesting.

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