QueTwo's Blog

thouoghts on telecommunications, programming, education and technology

Virtual Keyboard Project

When I was working with the AIR for TV framework to port some of my existing applications to work on the television, I quickly began missing the ability to accept full alpha-numeric inputs from the user.   Most remotes only allow for number keys and a few directional keys. 

I created a quick project that I’m opening up to the community called the VirtualKeyboard.  It’s ugly (somebody, please help me skin this!), but it works very well. 

The project includes three basic keyboard types :

  • VirtualNumericKeyboard – a basic keypad that you would expect to find on an ATM or Telephone.
  • VirtualAlphaNumericKeyboard – a basic keyboard that you would expect to find as an input on a TiVO or other keyboard-less device
  • VirtualQwertyKeyboard – a keyboard setup similar to a standard keyboard.

The virtual keyboard will send text to a TextInput, TextArea or any other component that extends the SkinnableTextBase class.  It can also fire keyboard events to any other UIComponent based object (although, since most components that accept inputs will not respond properly to simple KeyboardEvent events, its usefullness may be limited in this regard).   The keyboard also has a auto-positioning function that will do a best-effort to show the component you are targeting.

The virtual keyboard has been tested with the AIR for TV MAX 2010 Hardware Developer Kit, based on AIR 2.5 compiled for TV.  It should also work well for any Flash applications that are displayed on a limited device (GoogleTV), but this has been untested.

The compiled SWC is available here (a sample application is also included), and if you want just the source code, it is available here.  I am releasing this project under the MIT license and would love additional contributers.  Please contact me via nick@theflexgroup.org if you would like to help make this component better!

2 responses to “Virtual Keyboard Project

  1. Pingback: AIR for TV — The Virtual Keyboard « QueTwo's Blog

  2. David Smith December 12, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Sounds like a good project for hack nights (or coffee house coders) starting in January :)

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