I’ve been coding a LOT more than usual over the past 3 weeks. So much so that I’ve started having issues with my wrist, likely early onset of carpal tunnel which I would prefer to avoid. I did a few things today to help offset that.
The first was to buy an 87-key CODE keyboard from WASD. This allows me to move my mouse a lot closer to “center” on my desktop. Since I rarely use the numeric keypad or media keys, this is a good trade-off. “Cut off” the numeric keypad and make the keyboard a lot narrower. I’m not sure if I like the old-school clackety-clack of the Cherry MX Brown switches, but it has a great feel so I may get used to it. Great backlighting as well.
One downside that I’ve already discovered is that the CTRL key through ALT key on the left side are more than a half-key position to the left of my old keyboard. That makes the “reach” for CTRL-V (paste) keystrokes further apart than I like. On the plus side, the full size / full travel keys have me looking down to validate my keystrokes far less often. Overall I feel like I am typing much more quickly on this keyboard. Amazing how much the tactile feel makes a difference in that regard.
New keyboard, less right-wrist travel especially for the mouse. With another service launch coming this fall I expect a lot more coding; hopefully this change will eliminate the potential for carpal tunnel.
The other thing I did when getting the new keyboard, mostly due to changes in the keys that OSX recognizes, is setup some keyboard shortcuts in phpStorm. I also learned some neat shortcuts I need to add to my daily routines. Here are two of the most productive shortcuts that have my hitting a LOT fewer keys.
^Y = delete a line
This is going to save me from the old-habit ctrl-left-arrow , ctrl-shift-right-arrow, delete keystroke. 8 keystrokes down to 2. Wish I discovered that one long ago.
This is HUGE. Why didn’t I know about this 2 years ago? What is a live template? It can be a lot of things, but my simple version is using it as a permanently-saved copy & paste buffer for text I type frequently, especially during debugging.
What this does is sets up an auto-complete hint when you type in certain snippets of text (abbreviations). For example, I have an echo statement I use when doing “quick & dirty debugging” in phpStorm. It is faster than xdebug and all that complexity. I have been manually typing in this long echo statement for years, something like echo “====== ” . get_class() . ‘::’ . __FUNCTION__ . “<br/>\n”;
I highlight that code, and select “Tools/Live Template”. I then assign a shortcut, in my case I chose ‘ecof’ so it does not conflict with other PHP auto-complete hints. Now I can simply type ecof-tab in phpStorm and it will auto-complete the line , replacing ecof with the entire echo statement above.
Now if phpStorm would just fix their newly-introduced “feature” in version 9 so I can get back the extra keystrokes I have to type every time I end a phpDoc comment line with a period (<sarcasm>which NEVER happens </sarcasm>) and they decide to auto-complete that as “.@deprecated”.
Way less typing. Faster code. Less carpal tunnel.
I call that a win for today.