Meet the CODE keyboard, designed and built by a programmer

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Programmers rely on their keyboard perhaps more than any other profession I can think of. When I heard Jeff Atwood, author of the blog Coding Horror and co-founder of coding Q&A website Stack Overflow, just launched a keyboard with the help of Weyman Kong from WASD Keyboards, I figured it was worth sharing.

As outlined on Coding Horror, Atwood said he was indoctrinated into the keyboard cult when he bought his first computer but he didn’t appreciate it. He ultimately went on to own and use at least six different high-end mechanical keyboards but all of them were lacking in one way or another. Some didn’t have backlighting or media keys while others were ugly and had a terrible design.

With the Code Keyboard, Atwood set out to take the best elements from various keyboards and put them into one. His creation features “ultra-rare” Cherry MX Clear mechanical keyswitches that offer solid actuation force without the clicky noise. Over USB, the board offers 6-key rollover but if you need more, the included PS/2 adapter delivers n-key rollover.

Underneath is a steel backplate that offers a solid feel when typing which also results in the heft – 2.42 pounds, to be exact. It’s held in place on your desk by large rubber pads that are said to provide plenty of grip. There’s also white LED backlighting with onboard memory to save your lighting preferences. The key indicators use a standard Helvetica font.

On the bottom of the board is a bank of DIP switches that let you switch between QWERTY / Dvorak / Colemac layouts at the hardware level, disable the Windows key, swap CMD / ALT for use with Macs and turn the Caps Lock key into a secondary CTRL key.

Media keys are built into the keys already on the board using the Fn key in a location that just seems logical (Page Up turns the volume up, etc.). Secondary functions are printed on the front side of the keys facing you should you forget their function. Transportation is a breeze as the board uses a detachable standard micro USB cable and a 5-way cable routing channel on the base helps to get just the right look.

As you likely may have guessed, a keyboard of this caliber isn’t cheap. The Code Keyboard will set you back $149.99 for either the 104-key model or the 87-key version. That’s a hefty sum to swallow for a keyboard but if you’re pounding away on a board all day that you absolutely hate, it certainly might be worth checking out.

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