Helicopter is a keymap system with composability and ergonomics in mind. It provides a scalable way to define keybindgs, making them easy to remember and easy to use.
To make Helicopter system effective and powerful it is based on top of a few core principles.
One of the main goals of the project is to give a composable way to define keystrokes in a way that it would be mentally easy to learn them. Each keystroke consists of 2 main elements - method and argument. The left hand is responsible for methods and the right hand is responsible for its arguments.
You can see a few examples of resulting keybindings:
|main + → = move right||ctrl-;||
|select + → = select right||ctrl-shift-;||
|delete + → = delete right||ctrl-alt-;||
|file + → = next tab||ctrl-v ctrl-;||
|srch + → = find next||ctrl-e ctrl-;||
|srch + select + → = select next found||ctrl-e ctrl-shift-;||
|bkmk + → = next bookmark||ctrl-w ctrl-;||
|pane + → = focus right pane||ctrl-c ctrl-;||
|pane + →² = split pane right||ctrl-c ;||
The defined keymap works via regular key events, there is no need for entering mode, like in vim. Although, mode as an addition might be added in a future.
You can see the whole keymap here.
All the keystrokes are defined with ergonomics in mind. The navigation keys lie literaly at your fingertips. And the more common the action you want make the easier it is to access.
Each key has a semantics behind it. So you don't have to memorize all the weird keybindings, you just have to the remember base keys and next time you use it you will feel that it make sense. Many times you are going to guess the keybindings without ever using them.
The whole list of user experience principles you can see here
From the day one we have a support for different keyboard layouts. No matter which keyboard layout you use, the keys stay at the same place. Me myself using programmer dvorak, I see how it can be important to have support for different keyboards.
All the keybindings should be customizable. If the defaults don't make sense for you, you would be able to change it. If you want to have the search button on another key — you should be able to do it. And of course nothing stops you to define your own keybindings in a usual way.
Helicopter is not just a keymap, it is actually a system to define one. It gives you an ability to add new methods and arguments easily. There are still a lot of unbound keys left. So you can add support for your favorite packages without a problem.
Right now it can be used only on Atom. But it's in the plans to support other platform too.
There are two main concepts in Helicopter system: methods and arguments. The combination of two results in a keybinding. Method is responsible for a context in which you want to use the action and the action itself. I.e. file, pane could be a context and delete could be an action. Argument can be used only once, and usually it defines the direction ←(LEFT) or →(RIGHT), but it also can define a more abstract concept like SETUP or ⤴(EXPORT).
Some of the keys support alternatives, and they can be addressed either via modified version of keystroke, or via evoking method keybinding twice. I.e.
core:save-as is a third variation of file + ⤴(EXPORT). And it can be accessed either via alt key, or it can be accessed via double press of ctrl-v and then choosing the version of the third version of keybinding(via k key).
|file + ⤴³||ctrl-v alt-y||
|file + ⤴³||ctrl-v ctrl-v ctrl-y ctrl-k||
Keybinding version keys go in order of homerow:
You can always consult to the list of all keybindings: here.
Helicopter is still hugely work in progress. And many of the things could be implemented with the with your contribution.
Good catch. Let us know what about this package looks wrong to you, and we'll investigate right away.