My-T-Soft® 1.79 to incorporate new Touch Panel
written August 17, 2011 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: multitouch, gestures, flicks, touch panel #6
Click to view as Press Release
With Windows Vista and Windows 7 supporting multitouch touchscreen hardware, and providing various interfaces (multitouch, gestures, flicks, etc.), it made sense to find a way to support all interfaces while allowing full access to the My-T-Soft Family software, which includes IMG's My-T-Pen, My-T-Soft, My-T-Touch and Build-A-Board Designer Tool) brand names. The solution is the new Touch Panel, available in the upcoming Version 1.79.
The obvious selection approach was to use a "Touch to Select" approach, but with 11 different individually selectable panels, there was no definitive spot available to use, so a new, side-mounted, selectable Touch Panel was created. This has 4 selections available - change theme, Multi-Touch, Gestures, and Normal. The several interfaces, in order to be as flexible as possible, are implemented in the new MultiTouchDLL (source code available in the IMG Developer's Kit).
The Normal operation supports the Tablet type Flicks - which can have up to 8 options (compass points and mid-compass points (diagonals)). There are 2 modes built in, with the default being a "move" action along the compass points, and any diagonal being a minimize action. This was deemed the most useful in usability testing. Because of the touch interface at the Operating System level, these are available along with the normal touchscreen interface. Being implemented at the DLL level, a Windows developer could implement their own functionality using the MultiTouchDLL source code within the IMG Developer's Kit.
The Multi-touch operation mode when selected supports multiple inputs on the keyboard panel, with the most useful being the touch & hold Shift/Control/Alt key support, more reminiscent of a physical keyboard than previously possible using older touchscreen technology (i.e. NOT multi-touch). This can easily be turned on and off using the new Touch Panel.
The funnest interface is the Gestures operation mode (default). This allows normal typing operation, but also incorporates Zoom (Pinch & stretch) to size the keyboard, and a unique implementation of the panning operation so the keyboard can be moved or "thrown" off the screen when not needed (a portion of the Touch Panel remains visible so the keyboard can be accessed immediately when needed - during development, it was quickly realized that gesturing the keyboard away was useful for some things, but having it fly away and disappear from sight, being totally inaccessible was NOT a good end-point. Fun to do, but not truly useful - but once again, the new Touch Panel offered the best and most flexible solution). The dual-finger Rotate gesture was tied back into the Themes, so it will change the theme of the keyboard when the rotate gesture is used.
The Themes is incorporated as an easy way to view different approaches to the keyboard "view", and built-in themes allow a quick way to see and select a visually appealing theme. Ever since Release 2, there were ways for end-users to change the look of the keys, but due to its complexity, most users never even realized this. So we realized we needed to show off this capability in as straightforward a manner as possible, so a quick Theme change does the trick. There are various views built-in, and we anticipate adding more over time, but the key is it readily shows the concept & ease at which a new "look" can be implemented.
With many customers still remaining in XP, and running older hardware that is not multi-touch ready, there has not been a great demand for the multi-touch capability, but it will now be available in the next maintenance update for 1.78 users.