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Customizing the
Keypad Keymap

by John Orr and Carolyn Scheppner

The article ``Loading Keymaps'' in this issue of Amiga Mail discusses how to
load a keymap file from disk and add it to the system's list of keymaps. The
article also mentions that, although it does have some legitimate uses, a
console-based application rarely needs to concern itself with system-global
keymaps. In most cases, it is both easier and more system friendly for the
application to duplicate its console's keymap and make some modifications to
the copy of the keymap. Since such an application has a private copy of the
keymap, the application does not have to interfere with the user's global
keymap settings. Since this application is using a copy of the user's default
keymap, the technique works with many different national keyboards.

The KeyMap

To understand how to alter a KeyMap, you have to understand the layout of a
KeyMap. This is covered in the ``Keymap Library'' chapter of the Amiga ROM
Kernel Reference Manual: Libraries, although it is a bit hard to follow.
Hopefully, this section describes the layout of an Amiga Keymap a little

Each key on the Amiga keyboard has its own 7-bit raw key code. It is a raw key
because there is no character value assigned to it yet, so it isn't ``cooked''
yet. The Amiga doesn't bother assigning a character value to a specific key on
a keyboard because the letter printed on a key can vary greatly between
keyboards intended for use with different languages. The Amiga uses a KeyMap
to map raw key codes from the keyboard to an ANSI character.

The Amiga's input.device handles generating raw key input events. The
input.device reads the state of the keyboard using the keyboard.device. There
are two ways to use the keyboard to trigger the input.device into generating a
raw key input event. When the user presses a key, the input.device creates an
IECLASS_RAWKEY InputEvent structure (see <devices/inputevent.h>) and stores
the raw key code as a byte in the ie_Code field. This is known as a ``key
down'' event. The input.device also creates a similar input event when the
user releases a key, but it sets the high bit of the raw code byte to indicate
the user let go of the key (sometimes called a ``key up'' event). If any
qualifier keys (Control, Shift, or Alt) were pressed when the raw key was
pressed (or released), the input.device sets some qualifier bits in the
InputEvent's ie_Qualifier field. The input.device then adds the InputEvent to
the input stream.

As the input events travel down the input stream, a variety of input handlers
(like Intuition's input handler) have the opportunity to examine the input
events, possibly adding and removing input events. If the IECLASS_RAWKEY
InputEvent eventually arrives at the console.device's input handler, the
console.device can use a KeyMap to convert (or ``cook'') the raw key event
into one of several things:

An ANSI character
A String (32 characters or less)
A Dead Key (or Double Dead Key)

The following is the KeyMap structure (from <devices/keymap.h>):

struct   KeyMap
    UBYTE   *km_LoKeyMapTypes;
    ULONG   *km_LoKeyMap;
    UBYTE   *km_LoCapsable;
    UBYTE   *km_LoRepeatable;
    UBYTE   *km_HiKeyMapTypes;
    ULONG   *km_HiKeyMap;
    UBYTE   *km_HiCapsable;
    UBYTE   *km_HiRepeatable;

The KeyMap maps the range from raw key 0x00 through 0x7F. As mentioned
earlier, the high bit of the raw code is reserved for the up/down state of the
key. Each field in the KeyMap structure is a vector that points to a table.
The KeyMap splits the range of raw keys into a low set, 0x00 through 0x39, and
a high set, 0x40 though 0x7F. The vectors with names that start with ``km_Lo''
refer to the lower range (0x00 through 0x39). Likewise, the vectors with names
that start with ``km_Hi'' refer to the higher range (0x40 through 0x7F). Each
table has an entry for each raw key in its range.

The km_LoKeyMapTypes and km_HiKeyMapTypes fields each point to an array of
bytes. Each array has an entry for each raw key in its range (0x00-0x39 for
LoKeyMapTypes and 0x40-0x7F for HiKeyMaps). These arrays, known as the Key
Type tables, describe a key's type and its relevant qualifiers. Each entry is
a bitfield composed of the following flags (from <devices/keymap.h>):

KCF_SHIFT    /* The mapping is different for shifted mapping vs. non-shifted */
KCF_ALT      /* The mapping is different for ALTed keys vs. non-ALTed */
KCF_CONTROL  /* The mapping is different for CTRLed keys vs. non-CTRLed */

KCF_DEAD    /* This key is a ``deadable'' key */
KCF_STRING  /* This key maps to a string */
KCF_NOP     /* This key maps to nothing */

The km_LoKeyMap and km_HiKeyMap fields each point to an array containing a
long word entry for each raw key in its range. These arrays are known as the
Key Map tables. The purpose of the long word depends on the corresponding
entry from the key type tables:

For string keys (the KCF_STRING bit from the key type table is set), the entry
is a 32-bit pointer to string data (more on this later).

For deadable keys (the KCF_DEAD bit from the key type table is set), the entry
is a 32-bit pointer to dead key data.

For KCF_NOP keys, the entry is undefined.

For all other keys (for lack of a better term, we'll call them ``normal''
keys), the entry consists of four bytes. Each of these bytes is an eight bit
ANSI code. The raw key ``maps'' to one of these four bytes. The qualifier keys
that were pressed when the user hit the raw key determine which of the four
ANSI codes to use.

Unfortunately, since each normal raw key can only map to one of four bytes,
there is not enough space to handle all possible qualifier combinations. Since
there are three qualifier keys (Shift, Alt, and Control), each raw key would
require eight bytes to have an entry for all possible qualifier key

As this scheme can't support all possible qualifier combinations, it only
supports some combinations. The easiest case to handle is where the user hits
the raw key without any qualifiers. The raw key without qualifiers always maps
to the ANSI value in the low order byte of its entry in the Key Map table.

The meaning of the upper three bytes of the key map table entry changes
according to the raw key's key type value (from the key type table). The
following chart shows how the key type value changes the meaning of all four
bytes. If a qualifier does not appear in the ``Key Type'' column, the
keymapping software ignores that qualfier for the key. For example, if the key
type is KCF_SHIFT|KCF_ALT and the user is holding the shift and alt keys while
pressing a normal raw key, the raw key maps to the ANSI code in the high order
byte (bits 31-24). If the key map entry is the long word 0xD0F04464, the raw
key maps to the ANSI value 0xD0.

Another good example to consider is where the key type is KC_VANILLA. The
vanilla qualifier does not mean plain! KC_VANILLA is a combination (a logical
OR) of the three qualifier key types. When the key type is KC_VANILLA and the
user is holding the Control key, the keymapping software maps the the raw key
to the low order byte, but it clears bits five and six of the value it ouputs.
The keymapping software ignores the state of the shift and Alt keys. Using the
key map entry 0xD0F04464, the raw key maps to the low byte (0x64) but with its
fifth and sixth bit cleared:

%0110 0100    This is 0x64 in binary
%1001 1111    bitwise AND to clear bits 5 and 6
%0000 0100    = 0x04

The next fields from the KeyMap structure are km_LoCapsable and km_HiCapsable,
which point to the Capsable tables. These tables contain a single bit for each
raw key in their range. Their purpose is to tell the keymapping software what
to do when the Caps Lock button is on (the LED in the Caps Lock button is
lit). If a raw key's Capsable bit is set, the keymapping software treats the
raw key as a shifted raw key while the Caps Lock LED is on.

Like the Capsable tables, the Repeatable tables (km_LoRepeatable and
km_HiRepeatable) contain a single bit for each raw key in their range. If a
raw key's Capsable bit is set, the keymapping software should allow the key to
repeat if the user holds it down long enough. The Input Preferences editor
sets the time intervals that the input.device waits before repeating the key
and between key repeats. The input.device takes care of adding these events to
the input stream. When the keymapping software sees the series of repeated
keys, it may elect to throw away almost all of them if the key is not marked
as repeatable in the keymap.

String Output Keys

A keymap can also map a raw key to a string. A raw key maps to a string if the
key's entry in the key type table has the KCF_STRING bit set. For string keys,
the corresponding long word entry in the Lo/HiKeyMap is a 32-bit pointer to
the string data.

The string data consists of a table of 16-bit entries. Unlike the ``normal''
keys, string keys can account for every possible qualifier key combination.
Since there must be an entry in the string key's table for each qualfier
combination, the number of table entries depends on how many qualifier bits
are set in the key's key type table entry. If x is the number of qualifier
bits set in the key type table then the number of table entries is 2x.

If all three qualifier bits are set, there are eight entries. They appear in
the table in the following order:

Table 2 - String Key Data Table

   000  No Qualifiers
   001  Shift
   010  Alt
   011  Alt+Shift
   100  Control
   101  Control+Shift
   110	Control+Alt
   111  Control+Alt+Shift

To adjust the table above for fewer qualifiers, remove the rows that contain
the missing qualifier. For example, if the KCF_SHIFT and KCF_CONTROL bits are
set, the KCF_ALT qualifier is missing, so remove all the lines with an ``Alt''
in them:

Table 3 - A Shiftable Control Key

   00  No Qualifiers
   01  Shift
   10  Control
   11  Control+Shift

Each entry in the string data table is organized into two bytes, the first
byte tells the keymapping software the length of the string that the raw key
maps to. The second byte is a positive offset from the beginning of the table
to the string itself. Since this offset is only eight bits wide, every string
must start within the 255 bytes after the beginning of the table. For a raw
key that uses a full string data table, the keymap needs the first 16 bytes,
leaving enough room for about 34 bytes per string. Normally, the key's strings
should not exceed 32 bytes as larger strings can overflow the console.device's
input buffer, so 32 bytes is a good upper limit.

Unlike a C-style string, the raw key's string does not need a zero terminator
at the end (although it's not a bad idea to have a zero there if there is
enough space).

Simple KeyMap Example

The following is a pseudo-assembler fragment that shows the key type and the
map table entries for the first three keys of the high keymap (raw keys 0x40,
0x41, and 0x42):

    DC.B        KCF_ALT,KC_NOQUAL,      ;key 0x40 (spacebar), key 0x41 (backspace)
    DC.B        KCF_STRING+KCF_SHIFT,   ;key 0x42 is the tab key on the US keyboard
        ...     ;(other keys)
    DC.B        0,0,$A0,$20     ;key 0x40: nil, nil, the Alted-space key maps to $A0 which
                                ;  is the ANSI Non-Breakable Space (NBSP), the plain space
                                ;  key maps to $20 which is the space character.
    DC.B        0,0,0,$08       ;key 0x41: Back Space key only
    DC.L        newkey42        ;key 0x42: definition for string to output for Tab key
        ...                     ;(other keys)
    DC.B        new42ue - new42us       ;length of the unshifted string (new42us)
    DC.B        new42us - newkey42      ;number of bytes from start of
                                        ;  string descriptor to start of this string
    DC.B        new42se - new42ss       ;length of the shifted string (new42ss)
    DC.B        new42ss - newkey42      ;number of bytes from start of
                                        ;  string descriptor to start of this string
new42us:  DC.B        '[TAB]'
new42ss:  DC.B        '[SHIFTED-TAB]'

The keymap fragment above shows two kinds of keys, a ``normal'' key and a
string key. Looking at the key types table which starts at the newHiKeyTypes
label, key 0x40 is neither a dead key, a No Op key, or a string key, so key
0x40 is a ``normal'' key. It has one modifier, KCF_ALT. Looking at Table 1,
the Key Map table entry for key 0x40 should only have two defined bytes. The
third byte is the raw key with the Alt modifier and the fourth byte is the raw
key without modifiers. Looking at key 0x40's entry in the key map table (the
first four bytes of newHiKeyMap), if the user hits raw key 0x40 with the Alt
key down, this keymap maps the key to ANSI character 0xA0, which is the ANSI
Non-Breakable Space character (NBSP). Since only the KCF_ALT qualifier bit is
set, this keymap ignores the other qualifier keys.

Key 0x41 is similar to key 0x40 as it is a ``normal'' key as well. One way in
which key 0x41 differs from key 0x40 is that it has no qualifiers. According
to Table 1, if the user presses raw key 0x41 with or without qualifiers, this
keymap maps to the fourth byte in key 0x41's entry in the key map table, so
raw key 0x41 maps to the ANSI character 0x08, which is the backspace

The last key, 0x42, has two bits set in its entry from the key types table,
KCF_STRING and KCF_SHIFT, so it is a shiftable string key. For a string key,
the entry from the key map table is a 32-bit pointer to string key data
instead of the four ANSI codes a ``normal' key uses. Key 0x42's key map entry
points to newkey42. As key 0x42 is shiftable, the string data should only have
two entries in it. To adjust Table 2 for the shift qualifier, remove the rows
that contain Alt and Control. The table that starts at newkey42 should look
like this:

00	No Qualifiers
01	Shift

Looking at the keymap example, the ``No Qualifiers'' entry in the string table
shows that the length of the ``No Qualifiers'' string is new42ue-new42us. The
second byte in the string table entry is the offset from newkey42 to the ``No
Qualifiers'' string, which points to the string ``[TAB]''.

A Word About Dead-Class Keys

The Amiga keymap scheme also supports dead-class keys, which allow one key
press to modify the next key press. However, robustly altering a keymap by
adding dead-class keys requires an impractical amount of overhead and is not
particularly useful for the purposes described here. Dead-class keys are not
covered in this article. For more information, see the ``Keymap Library''
chapter of the Amiga ROM Kernel Reference Manual: Libraries.

Cloning and Altering the KeyMap

The AppKeyMap code at the end of this article contains a function which
duplicates a KeyMap structure plus all the KeyMap's associated tables. Cloning
a keymap is a fairly straightforward memory copy, although the AppKeyMap code
adds a little twist to make it easier for other functions to reference the
entries in the table. The way <devices/keymap.h> defines the KeyMap structure,
the keymap tables are split into a low set (``km_Lo...'') and a high set
(``km_Hi...''). This makes looking up entries in the tables a nuisance because
you have to treat ``Lo'' raw key and ``Hi'' raw keys separately. When the
CreateAppKeyMap() function creates the tables, it organizes the tables so the
``Hi'' table directly follows the ``Lo'', joining the two tables into one.
This allows other functions in the AppKeyMap code to use a raw key value as an
index into the table.

Altering the keymap is also rather straightforward, particularly because the
CreateAppKeyMap() function made the table entries much easier to reference.
The only remotely complicated part is handling the Capsable and Repeatable
tables. These are both bit tables (there a single bit entry for each raw key),
so handling them in C is a little cumbersome.

About the Code Example

The appmap_demo.c example is a shell-only program. It opens the console.device
and uses its CD_ASKKEYMAP command to obtain a copy of the shell's current
keymap. Using the AppKeyMap functions, the example duplicates and alters the
keymap copy. Appmap_demo.c then uses the console's CD_SETKEYMAP command to
install the keymap copy as the shell's current keymap. The user can type at
the shell's window trying out the altered keymap. When finished, the example
restores the shell's original keymap using the console's CD_SETKEYMAP command
and exits.

An application can also use this technique when attaching a console.device to
an Intuition window.


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