How to develop a soft keyboard for Android?


Question

I would like to play around with some ideas and develop a soft keyboard for Android to replace the default one.

  • Is there any general information about soft keyboard development for Android out there? Any best practices or guidelines?

  • Can I do with my keyboard application pretty much anything I could do with a normal Android application?

  • Can I do HTTP connections to synchronize keyboard data with a cloud DB and other phones I have?

  • Can I open other windows/screens from a key press, e.g. to display a custom input interface different to a normal QWERTY one. If that doesn't work, can I use a pop-up dialog instead?

1
109
8/13/2010 9:15:57 PM

Accepted Answer

Some tips:

About your questions:

An inputMethod is basically an Android Service, so yes, you can do HTTP and all the stuff you can do in a Service.

You can open Activities and dialogs from the InputMethod. Once again, it's just a Service.

I've been developing an IME, so ask again if you run into an issue.

80
1/22/2014 4:22:16 PM

Create Custom Key Board for Own EditText

Download Entire Code

In this post i Created Simple Keyboard which contains Some special keys like ( France keys ) and it's supported Capital letters and small letters and Number keys and some Symbols .

package sra.keyboard;

import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.util.Log;
import android.view.MotionEvent;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.WindowManager;
import android.view.View.OnClickListener;
import android.view.View.OnFocusChangeListener;
import android.view.View.OnTouchListener;
import android.widget.Button;
import android.widget.EditText;
import android.widget.RelativeLayout;

public class Main extends Activity implements OnTouchListener, OnClickListener,
  OnFocusChangeListener {
 private EditText mEt, mEt1; // Edit Text boxes
 private Button mBSpace, mBdone, mBack, mBChange, mNum;
 private RelativeLayout mLayout, mKLayout;
 private boolean isEdit = false, isEdit1 = false;
 private String mUpper = "upper", mLower = "lower";
 private int w, mWindowWidth;
 private String sL[] = { "a", "b", "c", "d", "e", "f", "g", "h", "i", "j",
   "k", "l", "m", "n", "o", "p", "q", "r", "s", "t", "u", "v", "w",
   "x", "y", "z", "ç", "à", "é", "è", "û", "î" };
 private String cL[] = { "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I", "J",
   "K", "L", "M", "N", "O", "P", "Q", "R", "S", "T", "U", "V", "W",
   "X", "Y", "Z", "ç", "à", "é", "è", "û", "î" };
 private String nS[] = { "!", ")", "'", "#", "3", "$", "%", "&", "8", "*",
   "?", "/", "+", "-", "9", "0", "1", "4", "@", "5", "7", "(", "2",
   "\"", "6", "_", "=", "]", "[", "<", ">", "|" };
 private Button mB[] = new Button[32];

 @Override
 public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
  super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
  try {
   setContentView(R.layout.main);
   // adjusting key regarding window sizes
   setKeys();
   setFrow();
   setSrow();
   setTrow();
   setForow();
   mEt = (EditText) findViewById(R.id.xEt);
   mEt.setOnTouchListener(this);
   mEt.setOnFocusChangeListener(this);
   mEt1 = (EditText) findViewById(R.id.et1);

   mEt1.setOnTouchListener(this);
   mEt1.setOnFocusChangeListener(this);
   mEt.setOnClickListener(this);
   mEt1.setOnClickListener(this);
   mLayout = (RelativeLayout) findViewById(R.id.xK1);
   mKLayout = (RelativeLayout) findViewById(R.id.xKeyBoard);

  } catch (Exception e) {
   Log.w(getClass().getName(), e.toString());
  }

 }

 @Override
 public boolean onTouch(View v, MotionEvent event) {
  if (v == mEt) {
   hideDefaultKeyboard();
   enableKeyboard();

  }
  if (v == mEt1) {
   hideDefaultKeyboard();
   enableKeyboard();

  }
  return true;
 }

 @Override
 public void onClick(View v) {

  if (v == mBChange) {

   if (mBChange.getTag().equals(mUpper)) {
    changeSmallLetters();
    changeSmallTags();
   } else if (mBChange.getTag().equals(mLower)) {
    changeCapitalLetters();
    changeCapitalTags();
   }

  } else if (v != mBdone && v != mBack && v != mBChange && v != mNum) {
   addText(v);

  } else if (v == mBdone) {

   disableKeyboard();

  } else if (v == mBack) {
   isBack(v);
  } else if (v == mNum) {
   String nTag = (String) mNum.getTag();
   if (nTag.equals("num")) {
    changeSyNuLetters();
    changeSyNuTags();
    mBChange.setVisibility(Button.INVISIBLE);

   }
   if (nTag.equals("ABC")) {
    changeCapitalLetters();
    changeCapitalTags();
   }

  }

 }

 @Override
 public void onFocusChange(View v, boolean hasFocus) {
  if (v == mEt && hasFocus == true) {
   isEdit = true;
   isEdit1 = false;

  } else if (v == mEt1 && hasFocus == true) {
   isEdit = false;
   isEdit1 = true;

  }

 }

 private void addText(View v) {
  if (isEdit == true) {
   String b = "";
   b = (String) v.getTag();
   if (b != null) {
    // adding text in Edittext
    mEt.append(b);

   }
  }

  if (isEdit1 == true) {
   String b = "";
   b = (String) v.getTag();
   if (b != null) {
    // adding text in Edittext
    mEt1.append(b);

   }

  }

 }

 private void isBack(View v) {
  if (isEdit == true) {
   CharSequence cc = mEt.getText();
   if (cc != null && cc.length() > 0) {
    {
     mEt.setText("");
     mEt.append(cc.subSequence(0, cc.length() - 1));
    }

   }
  }

  if (isEdit1 == true) {
   CharSequence cc = mEt1.getText();
   if (cc != null && cc.length() > 0) {
    {
     mEt1.setText("");
     mEt1.append(cc.subSequence(0, cc.length() - 1));
    }
   }
  }
 }
 private void changeSmallLetters() {
  mBChange.setVisibility(Button.VISIBLE);
  for (int i = 0; i < sL.length; i++)
   mB[i].setText(sL[i]);
  mNum.setTag("12#");
 }
 private void changeSmallTags() {
  for (int i = 0; i < sL.length; i++)
   mB[i].setTag(sL[i]);
  mBChange.setTag("lower");
  mNum.setTag("num");
 }
 private void changeCapitalLetters() {
  mBChange.setVisibility(Button.VISIBLE);
  for (int i = 0; i < cL.length; i++)
   mB[i].setText(cL[i]);
  mBChange.setTag("upper");
  mNum.setText("12#");

 }

 private void changeCapitalTags() {
  for (int i = 0; i < cL.length; i++)
   mB[i].setTag(cL[i]);
  mNum.setTag("num");

 }

 private void changeSyNuLetters() {

  for (int i = 0; i < nS.length; i++)
   mB[i].setText(nS[i]);
  mNum.setText("ABC");
 }

 private void changeSyNuTags() {
  for (int i = 0; i < nS.length; i++)
   mB[i].setTag(nS[i]);
  mNum.setTag("ABC");
 }

 // enabling customized keyboard
 private void enableKeyboard() {

  mLayout.setVisibility(RelativeLayout.VISIBLE);
  mKLayout.setVisibility(RelativeLayout.VISIBLE);

 }

 // Disable customized keyboard
 private void disableKeyboard() {
  mLayout.setVisibility(RelativeLayout.INVISIBLE);
  mKLayout.setVisibility(RelativeLayout.INVISIBLE);

 }

 private void hideDefaultKeyboard() {
  getWindow().setSoftInputMode(
    WindowManager.LayoutParams.SOFT_INPUT_STATE_ALWAYS_HIDDEN);

 }

 private void setFrow() {
  w = (mWindowWidth / 13);
  w = w - 15;
  mB[16].setWidth(w);
  mB[22].setWidth(w + 3);
  mB[4].setWidth(w);
  mB[17].setWidth(w);
  mB[19].setWidth(w);
  mB[24].setWidth(w);
  mB[20].setWidth(w);
  mB[8].setWidth(w);
  mB[14].setWidth(w);
  mB[15].setWidth(w);
  mB[16].setHeight(50);
  mB[22].setHeight(50);
  mB[4].setHeight(50);
  mB[17].setHeight(50);
  mB[19].setHeight(50);
  mB[24].setHeight(50);
  mB[20].setHeight(50);
  mB[8].setHeight(50);
  mB[14].setHeight(50);
  mB[15].setHeight(50);

 }

 private void setSrow() {
  w = (mWindowWidth / 10);
  mB[0].setWidth(w);
  mB[18].setWidth(w);
  mB[3].setWidth(w);
  mB[5].setWidth(w);
  mB[6].setWidth(w);
  mB[7].setWidth(w);
  mB[26].setWidth(w);
  mB[9].setWidth(w);
  mB[10].setWidth(w);
  mB[11].setWidth(w);
  mB[26].setWidth(w);

  mB[0].setHeight(50);
  mB[18].setHeight(50);
  mB[3].setHeight(50);
  mB[5].setHeight(50);
  mB[6].setHeight(50);
  mB[7].setHeight(50);
  mB[9].setHeight(50);
  mB[10].setHeight(50);
  mB[11].setHeight(50);
  mB[26].setHeight(50);
 }

 private void setTrow() {
  w = (mWindowWidth / 12);
  mB[25].setWidth(w);
  mB[23].setWidth(w);
  mB[2].setWidth(w);
  mB[21].setWidth(w);
  mB[1].setWidth(w);
  mB[13].setWidth(w);
  mB[12].setWidth(w);
  mB[27].setWidth(w);
  mB[28].setWidth(w);
  mBack.setWidth(w);

  mB[25].setHeight(50);
  mB[23].setHeight(50);
  mB[2].setHeight(50);
  mB[21].setHeight(50);
  mB[1].setHeight(50);
  mB[13].setHeight(50);
  mB[12].setHeight(50);
  mB[27].setHeight(50);
  mB[28].setHeight(50);
  mBack.setHeight(50);

 }

 private void setForow() {
  w = (mWindowWidth / 10);
  mBSpace.setWidth(w * 4);
  mBSpace.setHeight(50);
  mB[29].setWidth(w);
  mB[29].setHeight(50);

  mB[30].setWidth(w);
  mB[30].setHeight(50);

  mB[31].setHeight(50);
  mB[31].setWidth(w);
  mBdone.setWidth(w + (w / 1));
  mBdone.setHeight(50);

 }

 private void setKeys() {
  mWindowWidth = getWindowManager().getDefaultDisplay().getWidth(); // getting
  // window
  // height
  // getting ids from xml files
  mB[0] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xA);
  mB[1] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xB);
  mB[2] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xC);
  mB[3] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xD);
  mB[4] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xE);
  mB[5] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xF);
  mB[6] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xG);
  mB[7] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xH);
  mB[8] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xI);
  mB[9] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xJ);
  mB[10] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xK);
  mB[11] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xL);
  mB[12] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xM);
  mB[13] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xN);
  mB[14] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xO);
  mB[15] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xP);
  mB[16] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xQ);
  mB[17] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xR);
  mB[18] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS);
  mB[19] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xT);
  mB[20] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xU);
  mB[21] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xV);
  mB[22] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xW);
  mB[23] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xX);
  mB[24] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xY);
  mB[25] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xZ);
  mB[26] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS1);
  mB[27] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS2);
  mB[28] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS3);
  mB[29] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS4);
  mB[30] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS5);
  mB[31] = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xS6);
  mBSpace = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xSpace);
  mBdone = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xDone);
  mBChange = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xChange);
  mBack = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xBack);
  mNum = (Button) findViewById(R.id.xNum);
  for (int i = 0; i < mB.length; i++)
   mB[i].setOnClickListener(this);
  mBSpace.setOnClickListener(this);
  mBdone.setOnClickListener(this);
  mBack.setOnClickListener(this);
  mBChange.setOnClickListener(this);
  mNum.setOnClickListener(this);

 }

}

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