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IMG's Blog - Recorded Keystrokes

Updates to Build-A-Board.com Accounts for better managing boards, licenses, and devices
written November 15, 2018 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: My-T-Soft; Build-A-Board; Build-A-Board.com    #82
 

IMG has always been customer driven and to address the growing usage of My-T-Soft and Build-A-Board, some updates and some overhauls were required at the "back-end" within the Build-A-Board.com accounts.

The My Boards tab has been addressed to allow Default boards to be assigned to individual platforms (so, for example, Windows can have a different default board vs. Android). Because of the inherent differences in platforms, this provides needed flexibility in customizing boards specific to a platform. In order to make My-T-Soft for Android work seamlessly with this change, a minor update to 2.20.32 was required, and this allows the automatic selection of the current keyboard to be the default, when "Get My Boards" is selected via the option in My-T-Soft Settings.

For those not familiar with the 2 categories in My Boards, the Favorite Keyboards section are boards that will be retrieved when Get My Boards is selected on a run-time platform, and Default Keyboards are boards that will retrieved and made the current selected and default keyboard (e.g. KEYBOARD.KBF) after the download process is completed. At the moment, there hasn't been a need or request to separate out favorite boards to specific platforms, and this is not currently on any to-do list. Since the cost of carrying a few extra boards is negligible, and you never know what situation may throw itself at you, always having your favorites, no matter the platform, seems to be the correct approach.

There are also some updates in My Projects, adding Windows, Android, and Linux as options to quickly select Default boards for these platforms, and also a similar change in the Board Browser tab for the publicly available boards. When you upload a Board Project from Build-A-Board to your account, it will appear in the My Projects tab. There are 3 scope options for each project - Private, Public, and Marketplace. Whenever a new project is uploaded to your account, it is Private. Only if you select Public will it be available in the Public browseable boards (i.e. Board Browser). Currently the Marketplace is not engaged, and a warning will be shown if you select this option (e.g. Board is public, but the Marketplace is not currently available). So for practical purposes, there is private and public, with most customers focusing on their own custom boards. Not yet available in the current release of Build-A-Board is "Get My Projects", and this is on the to-do list... However, there is a Download Project icon (black folder/green down arrow) that can be used to manually obtain the Project zip file, which can be dropped into the SOURCE folder / Project folder for use within Build-A-Board (i.e. you find yourself at a different system and want an uploaded project).

The License Manager tab has 2 new buttons - Manage Licenses and Manage Device Settings. The Manage Licenses allows you to update or name licenses so keeping track of deployed licenses can be easily managed. Note that IMG has many types of customers, with some being individuals, some being companies with a small number of deployments, and some are resellers using My-T-Soft on per project basis. For customers using Live, Enterprise, or OEM type licenses, this section does not apply. Also this option allows customers to update license status if a device is missing, damaged, or destroyed.

The Manage Device settings provides tools to manage device settings (currently only for the Android platform). Since certain settings are relevant across a large number of similar devices, but don't make sense as part of the actual board, My-T-Soft for Android has the ability to upload/download settings to your account. You also have the ability to set Account defaults. The logic is setup so that if a device requests settings, and that device has a set of saved settings, it will retrieve the current set of saved settings. If the device does not have settings, but the account has defaults, then the device (and any other device) will retrieve the account default settings. This provides a mechanism to standardize on custom settings for a family of devices by using the same Build-A-Board.com account for licensing.

As customers let us know their needs and requirements, updates and changes are rolled into the appropriate area. The vision of having a cloud based store for your favorite boards, with the ability to get a new device, install My-T-Soft, license, retrieve your boards (and settings), and be off and running is complete for major platforms. As time marches on, more & more refinements will be rolled into the system, and we welcome everyone along for the ride. Keyboards have been in use for over 160 years, and will continue to have important roles in all types of situations. Now, with the complete flexibility of customization, your own set of optimized boards are quickly & easily available on whatever device you are using today!

Build-A-Board 2.20 Release 6 & My-T-Soft for Android 2.20.30
written September 18, 2018 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board    #81
 

IMG is pleased to announce that new updates to IMG's My-T-Soft® Build-A-Board and My-T-Soft® for Android are now available for download and use.

The Build-A-Board 2.20 Release 6 includes updates to run-times, including My-T-Soft for Android and Linux, updated help, and many minor user interface fixes. For product information, current download, and online help just go to the Build-A-Board product page.

Now that My-T-Soft for Android has been rolled out in major installs, and we have customer feedback and requests, there have been updates to address these requirements. The current version includes support for Honeywell devices / bar code scanners, import/export options, automatic account and settings import options, and numerous other updates and new features. Details are available at the Features tab at the My-T-Soft for Android product page.

For users running earlier releases of Build-A-Board, you just need to go to Help | Check for Updates... and walk through the automatic update option. For Android users, simply download and install the current release.

My-T-Soft for Android 2.20.18 Release
written July 31, 2018 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board    #79
 

The latest update of My-T-Soft for Android is now available. Many features and capabilities have been added to address real-world customer needs, and this release also provides support for the latest Android release (Oreo 8.0/8.1).

New features include the ability to use the [CMD:KEYCODE=nnn] for the Key Action so any Android key code can be used. This can be helpful or important for various specific uses, and allows even more flexibility with building boards to do various tasks or provide the user/operator with the tools they need to optimize the user interface. One of the capabilities of My-T-Soft is to separate the Key Label from the Key Action, and being able to put any Android virtual key event(s) behind a key press opens up a wealth of possibilities.

There is also a Force Visibility option that can be used to create a fixed user interface. Although this is non-standard operation, if a device is used for a single purpose/single-app, being able to tie My-T-Soft into the whole system as a constant presence adds another unique capability. There is also a [CMD:TOGGLEFORCESHOW] key action command that enables/disables this feature, providing a way for the user to dismiss the keyboard if there is a need to exit this special mode.

Another new feature is the ability to import/export My-T-Soft for Android settings. This can be done locally via a file, or can be tied to the device in a user's Build-A-Board.com account. This can be used for backup, so desired settings can be retrieved, or for deployment purposes.

For those not yet familiar with My-T-Soft for Android, key features include the ability to customize layouts with IMG's Build-A-Board, tie layouts together into sets, position layouts anywhere on the screen, and customize key actions with keystroke macros and internal commands (Launch Apps, Open New Keyboard File, etc.). The software installs as another input method, and can be swapped in & out with other methods. My-T-Soft for Android can tie into accounts at Build-A-Board.com, so favorite boards can be quickly brought onto any device, and provides access to the ever growing online database of onscreen keyboard layouts. Because layouts are customizable, key sizes are flexible, and both text and images can be used on keys, the possibilities for optimizing the user input interface are endless.

Build-A-Board 2.20 Release 5 is now available!
written January 23, 2018 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: Build-A-Board; My-T-Soft;    #77
 

IMG is pleased to announce that a comprehensive update to IMG's My-T-Soft® Build-A-Board is now available for download and use. This release includes support for the recently released My-T-Soft for Android, along with updates to run-time targets, new features and capabilities, and tighter integration with the online database of layouts at Build-A-Board.com and with individual Build-A-Board.com accounts.

For those not familiar with Build-A-Board, here is a quick overview/history. Back in the last century, the success of IMG's My-T-Soft/My-T-Touch/My-T-Pen/My-T-Mouse on-screen keyboard software led customers to ask for custom layouts, different capabilities, and different platforms. So starting in the late 90's, a review of the industry and a long wish-list of what on-screen keyboard software could be was laid out, all while structuring things so that the market could define the path forward (vs. taking a best-guess and risk being way off the mark). So the first Build-A-Board builder was released in the early 2000's providing a tool to create custom layouts, and integrating with the existing Windows software. As time marched on, new platforms were added - Windows CE (EXE and DLL), Linux (32-bit/64-bit), Mac OS X, Windows 64-bit, and most recently Android. Each iteration of Build-A-Board refined the user interface, added capabilities, and slowly began to realize the original goals - complete flexibility of the user interface for text input software and able to operate on any platform (i.e. computing device with a pointing device interface - touch, stylus, mouse, etc.) Along the way, the online database at Build-A-Board.com was created and filled out, user accounts were added, and a complete eco-system was also created to truly realize the vision - a way for your layouts to be available on whatever device you were using today. Also note, in case you don't know or realize, My-T-Soft is a just a contraction of My Typing Software. Having your own customized and optimized layouts on any device you use seems like a much better future than having to deal with whatever the system decides to give you. Finally, because of various constraints and the nature of IMG's business, some of the features and capabilities have been only available to existing customers prior to this public release.

The following outlines some of the technical aspects of the release that are new since the last public release. It is assumed that everyone already knows that you can create, design, customize, and deploy on-screen keyboards pretty easily with the previous releases, so highlighting the new features is most important here. It is also worthwhile to note the market is becoming increasingly aware of the need for customization, because if you are providing the same dang thing as everyone else, you really aren't providing any value...

Conversion between 2.10 and 2.20 compatible sources: In previous versions, you could only convert one way to the 2.20 Unicode formats, and there was no way to convert back to the ANSI 2.10. Because there are enough legacy installs in use, and some customers started off in 2.20 not realizing they couldn't target 2.10 installs, the ability to convert projects back & forth between the 2 targets was added. As an important item to note, when converting from 2.20 to 2.10, information in the projects (especially key data) will be lost and not be recoverable. Projects should only be converted to legacy 2.10 when there is a specific need for that target. As a helpful reminder, doing a Save As step first can save a lot of grief if considering doing a 2.20 to 2.10 conversion.

Open KMF and Open KBF options: With this release, the only real support is for 1.xx software, and provides a limited way to modify keys and labels on the older software. Because the trend is to use the newer/more capable 2.xx targets, these options are for special cases with the older, legacy software. If you feel there is a need for these options, it is recommended you contact IMG Technical Support to discuss what you are trying to accomplish.

Builder Properties, Project and Project Details tabs: There are 2 new tabs on the Properties dialog which show internal settings regarding the current project, and a Project Details page to establish a category and sorting options for use within the public database. If you plan to make a project public or place on the marketplace, updating these details is recommended and may be required for certain situations.

View Key Images: This opens a sub-window that shows the current available key images that can be used on keys with the HiRes Key Type and Frame Type set to Key Images. Select or Double-Click on a Key Image to make it the current image used for the Board (all keys with the correct Type/Frame Type will be updated for the entire board).

View Keyboard Layouts: This opens a sub-windows that shows all available language maps (KMF files) that can be embedded in a layout. With the correct Key Label and Key Action configuration, layouts can be easily toggled between 2 language maps, or scrolled through all included layouts within a Board. Layouts can be selected from the available list, or removed from the already included layouts, so a final set of layouts to be included with the target KBF file. Note this is currently only fully supported on the Windows targets.

Grid + layout: When the grid is enabled (F4), and the Add tool is in use (F3), a click and drag will enable a multiple key grid layout. The keys are based on the current default width/height, and the current grid size. Note that if the default key size is not a multiple of the current grid size, the top/left of keys added in this way will not be on grid points - if this is the case, you may wish to disable the grid once you have your field of keys.

Spacing logic/pixels: When aligning a row or a column of keys, the spacing logic allows for fixed end points, or an approximate end point with guaranteed even spacing. There is now also a way to select a specific number of pixels to be inserted between adjacent keys.

Keystroke Macro Recorder: A utility to record formatted macros is included, so more complex keystroke sequences can be monitored and recorded for use within Key Action keystroke macros.

Integration with Build-A-Board.com: When licensed, you can go directly to Build-A-Board.com (in your browser), projects can be uploaded to your account, and favorite and default boards can be managed for use with run-time targets

Flexible licensing: With this release, a new IMG License Manager is integrated, allowing for more flexible options, and ties platform licenses to your Build-A-Board.com account. Most importantly, the ability to get a Build-A-Board license for Free is now available, and once licensed, non-evaluation boards can be created. Because licenses can be embedded in the .KBF files (layouts), device and platform licensing can be managed from a Build-A-Board.com account, so the Build-A-Board builder can be used by anyone to create layouts. Note that to deploy licensed layouts (e.g. Platform licensing), a Serial # is required, only available when an appropriate license has been purchased.

My-T-Soft for Android
written October 12, 2017 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board    #76
 

IMG is pleased to present My-T-Soft for Android, the newest platform for IMG's Build-A-Board keyboard designer. Working in conjunction with a large OEM customer and identifying shortcomings in available Android keyboards, along with a list of desired capabilities, IMG has developed, and now publicly released the Android target for custom Build-A-Board layouts.

Key features include the ability to customize layouts with IMG's Build-A-Board, tie layouts together into sets, position layouts anywhere on the screen, and customize key actions with keystroke macros and internal commands (Launch Apps, Open New Keyboard File, etc.). The software installs as another input method, and can be swapped in & out with other methods. My-T-Soft for Android can tie into accounts at Build-A-Board.com, so favorite boards can be quickly brought onto any device, and provides access to the ever growing online database of onscreen keyboard layouts. Because layouts are customizable, key sizes are flexible, and both text and images can be used on keys, the possibilities for optimizing the user input interface are endless. In order to address different devices and different screen resolutions and the fact that layouts may not be optimized for a particular device, various scaling options and board positioning options were added. While it is recommended that boards be optimized for devices, the reality is that boards may be dropped onto a device from who knows where, so the ability to scale and fit boards is a useful capability.

In addition to flexible positioning from within Build-A-Board, and various device & board overrides, there is also an optional ability to drag & drop a layout where desired, and the new location can be saved (or not). Basics such as configurable shift-lock/indicators, and key click sounds are included, along with an optional revert to default layout on long key press. The key zoom or preview capability is included (separate magnified key being pressed) and also configurable to above/below/left/right, as now that layouts can be anywhere, the actual direction of where best to see the magnified key is no longer just in one place.

There are also several appearance options and overrides that provide additional capabilities. The keyboard background can come from the KeyBoard File (KBF / Board data), can be made black, white, or clear (glass). The clear option can be used to create a floating key effect, and also helpful if transparency is being used. The actual key image (or look & feel of the keys) has many user selectable options which can override keys that have the HiRes key type. There is also full support for the Regular keys in terms of face/text/highlight/shadow options, and keys can be mixed on boards (this is a per key setting). The actual Key Text color can also be selected from the KBF / Board setting to Black or White. Finally, the ability to select a transparency level is done via a slide bar where the user can dial up and down how opaque or how transparent you want the boards to be. This enables a full screen layout where you can see through and type using the whole screen, while still seeing your text input. This helps with various devices, and can solve input/fat-finger issues. Note that a board can be optimized to leave space in the keys where the actual text will go, so keys will not occlude the underlying text input field.

My-T-Soft for Android is part of the IMG Build-A-Board system as a new target, which is added to existing targets for Windows, Windows CE, Linux, and Max OS X, all with access to the growing online database of layouts. Basic licensing is available per device, and as a Platform in the Build-A-Board system with options for site, company, and enterprise licensing.

Because of the flexibility of being able to design the keyboard, or choose from an existing layout and modify as needed, the application is only limited by your needs and imagination. Now Android users can Get the My-T-Soft Advantage! What you want, when you want, where you want it! Improves productivity, saves time, reduces errors, and lowers training costs. Android users - Welcome to My-T-Soft!

My-T-Soft® for Linux 2.20 Release 5 now available
written May 10, 2017 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: My-T-Soft; Build-A-Board; Linux; 32-bit; 64-bit;    #74
 

A maintenance update to My-T-Soft for the Linux platform (Build-A-Board run-time for Linux 32-bit and 64-bit) is now available and will be rolled into the next release of Build-A-Board. A large government contractor ran into issues while testing for an upcoming release, and although the specific issue could not be replicated in house, a code review and other stress tests found a mechanism where unsupported characters could be introduced into a keystroke macro, and could cause the macrobat (Macro Batch processor) process to terminate (which then caused typing problems, and other operational issues). By working with the customer's results and in-house testing, a more robust error checking and invalid character stripping was added, producing the update. From the code review & inspection of the actual C library function call used as part of the interprocess communication, multiple "post" events before macrobat processed the queue could result in a line-feed character as a separator, which then caused the issue (which was created in-house by using typefile/playmacro with various files/input data). As part of the review, it was determined that timing issues due to system speed, other processes running, input caching, or possibly other system delays could result in the interprocess queue growing without immediate macrobat processing, and then (possibly system / version related) the line-feed character would have been introduced (which caused the improper handling in the previous version of macrobat). The update was tested extensively by the customer and IMG, and after passing all tests, the update release was made available. Better support for the Allow User to Move / Access Menu options set in Build-A-Board was also added. The update is available here: My-T-Soft for Linux

The My-T-Soft® and Build-A-Board software provides customizable on-screen keyboard, buttons, and panels for use across numerous platforms, enabling a consistent user interface along with more control, security, and flexibility than system based on-screen keyboards.

Joystick-To-Mouse 2.80 Release 5 now available to address Windows updates
written January 24, 2017 by Kermit Komm
Category: Development Tags: Joystick-To-Mouse; Text Scaling;    #73
 

A relatively minor update to the Windows 10/8.1/8 version of Joystick-To-Mouse is now available, tagged as Version 2.80 Release 5. Changes were made to the Joystick-To-Mouse executables, along with date and release text updates. This update is an example of the maintenance that is required of software - here is the background and details:
A new customer was using Joystick-To-Mouse on their Home Theater PC, using an Xbox 360 wireless controller, but ran into an issue when going into Start->Settings->System->Display->Change text size (or Display | Advanced Settings, set Custom Text size) to make the text easier to see on their flat screen TV. Basically whenever the setting was something other than 100%, the mouse cursor ran to the bottom-right of the screen, and made the software unusable. A Tech Support case was created, and it bubbled up to the development staff, since there was no quick solution available. The first step in resolving issues is to be able to duplicate the problem, and this was quickly done, but trying to understand why the DPI change was the cause of the problem seemed odd, as the software already had a SetProcessDPIAware call that was added back in the updates for Windows 8. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, which is used in Windows to map things on to the display. In digging into the code and documentation, it turns out the preferred approach for a process is to use now is the program manifest vs. the API call, and it must be noted that is not uncommon for the preferred solution to change when dealing with Windows API based software. In testing and working with rebuilt/remanifested executables, it was discovered that the existing software did work just fine with custom text sizes in Windows 8, but not in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Also it should be noted that testing in a normal system would never expose this issue - only doing custom text sizing would make the problem occur. So the only required change was to remove the deprecated SetProcessDPIAware call, and update the manifests for the required executable files. Then comes the testing, and rolling into an updated release.

In an ideal world, with infinite resources, complete regression testing would have caught this issue. But customers simply won't pay thousands of dollars for a little utility program. Plus why should a problem that was found, and fixed, and in the software need testing on what was a mostly a cosmetic update to Windows 8? It turns out the API used had some issues, so it was deprecated (most likely around the Windows 8.1 release), but the thought that every Windows API used in a Windows software program needs to be reviewed for every Windows release just to see if there have been changes makes little business sense, so customers need to be understanding of the realities of modern software. Maybe someday non-IMG software will be engineered and maintained in a disciplined manner, but that is not the world we live in today.

Joystick-To-Mouse continues to be in demand, and provides a unique capability that IMG updates and maintains. Now that only secure, code-signed programs can access the user interface capabilities needed to perform the function that Joystick-To-Mouse provides, it may be a good idea to "Tell a Friend", and let your gamer friends know that they can "play" their internet browser, or "drive" Windows, or use Windows on a large screen TV with large text! Just as many eyes make bugs shallow, many customers make resources available for more development, more testing, and more features...

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Blog Information

Sargento Foods Inc. moves to Build-A-Board Platform License
November 30, 2018
Tracy Chang
Category: PR
Tags: Sargento Foods Inc.; IMG Platform License; My-T-Soft; Build-A-Board;
 

Updates to Build-A-Board.com Accounts for better managing boards, licenses, and devices
November 15, 2018
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: My-T-Soft; Build-A-Board; Build-A-Board.com
 

Build-A-Board 2.20 Release 6 & My-T-Soft for Android 2.20.30
September 18, 2018
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board
 

VisionID deploys My-T-Soft for Android
August 28, 2018
Tracy Chang
Category: PR
Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board
 

My-T-Soft for Android 2.20.18 Release
July 31, 2018
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board
 

Domtar Corporation enters into IMG Technology License Agreement
March 21, 2018
Tracy Chang
Category: PR
Tags: Domtar Corporation; IMG Technology License; My-T-Soft
 

Build-A-Board 2.20 Release 5 is now available!
January 23, 2018
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: Build-A-Board; My-T-Soft;
 

My-T-Soft for Android
October 12, 2017
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: My-T-Soft; Android; Build-A-Board
 

The New IMG Logo!
June 6, 2017
Tracy Chang
Category: PR
Tags: new IMG Logo; marketing
 

My-T-Soft® for Linux 2.20 Release 5 now available
May 10, 2017
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: My-T-Soft; Build-A-Board; Linux; 32-bit; 64-bit;
 

Joystick-To-Mouse 2.80 Release 5 now available to address Windows updates
January 24, 2017
Kermit Komm
Category: Development
Tags: Joystick-To-Mouse; Text Scaling;
 


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