Meet the CODE keyboard, designed and built by a programmer

By on August 29, 2013, 2:30 PM

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.




User Comments: 17

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4 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

A dumb way to flog a product...

Just because someone has been using a tool for his whole life, does not in anyway make him a specialist at creating or designing one. For example, one may ride a bicycle his own life and never have a clue how to design one.

And yet suddenly, a programmer designs a keyboard - I don't see how or why this would be a good thing in any way. May easily end up with something that just won't last...

I've changed many keyboards in my life, and the one I have now is Logitech K800, which is the best keyboard I've ever had.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

Sounds like a sweet keyboard. But honestly, it looks kinda plain. And also I am not really that picky on my keyboards. If I can type decently, I'm happy lol.

Guest said:

I'd be willing to give this a go especially if the $ to £ ratio works out like it should and not overcharge just because you want to.

At first glance I like the keyboard but then again I haven't tried it so I couldn't say I would use it over my current keyboards but still if the $ to £ ratio goes like it should I would definitely shell out to try this keyboard.

I program but still learning (php, pdo) so I would like to try this as programmers know what they want in a keyboard!

Guest said:

I currently use a Logitech G110, which I rarely make use of the additional keys. I think I'd prefer a quality minimalist keyboard like this one. However, $150 is way too much in my opinion. I would consider it at $80, maybe even $100.

treeski treeski said:

A dumb way to flog a product...

Just because someone has been using a tool for his whole life, does not in anyway make him a specialist at creating or designing one. For example, one may ride a bicycle his own life and never have a clue how to design one.

And yet suddenly, a programmer designs a keyboard - I don't see how or why this would be a good thing in any way. May easily end up with something that just won't last...

I've changed many keyboards in my life, and the one I have now is Logitech K800, which is the best keyboard I've ever had.

Don't know how good this keyboard actually is, but the guy didn't design it by himself. As stated in his blog, he partnered up with Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards. The likely scenario is that this keyboard was designed by professionals with feedback from Atwood. Regardless, you can't know if it's any good without trying it.

Personally as a coder, I'm getting more and more interested in looking into ergonomic keyboards.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Not paying for this way to expensive. Looks like something outdated already. I use the Wave Pro by Logitech to program or I use standard keyboard with USB cord. Those two cost much less than this one.

Clicks feedback when your type (you already should spot check your work less debugging)

LED Amber Blue Lite Keys (should be able to type without seeing the keys anyway)

2 people like this | MrBungle said:

I code databases all day and use a Logitech G19 and a G700... no way am I giving up my macros...

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I like it, especially the fact that it comes with MX Clears (which is what makes it quite pricey I guess).

1 person liked this | madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've changed many keyboards in my life, and the one I have now is Logitech K800, which is the best keyboard I've ever had.

I too swear by the K800, which is paired with a Logitech Performance MX mouse.

JC713 JC713 said:

This would be great if the price tag was <$100 and it wasnt so bland...

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Big fan of the Das myself, and I've had a few people buy it after my advise (probably quite a bit more if you count in-site recommendations ). Since I was in need of a second mechanical keyboard and the Code release coincided with that I went for it before shipping was extended beyond September... which it is now.

1 person liked this | dennis777 dennis777 said:

Built by a programmer but not for programmers... you see, programmers has no money.

put it in $10 tag price :P

trgz said:

I code databases all day and use a Logitech G19 and a G700... no way am I giving up my macros...

Yup, a bunch of user programmable keys for macros and/or convoluted key-stroke combi's (a la Visual Studio etc) ought, you would think, be a requirement for a 'coder's keyboard'. As for me, I simply need a keyboard that has a comfortable edge to the key as my LH little finger and thumb get sore from catching the corners of the Ctrl and Alt keys

(and I was most amused at replying to your post when I effectively saw Quote/UnQoute at the top of my reply :-))

OliTheG OliTheG said:

Expensive? That's minorly above average in the UK.

For us, a CM Storm Pro full sized keyboards, one of the cheapest you can buy here (One UK version with red switches) costs about £70. That's about 110USD.

In USALand, it's about $70 for MX Blues. Or about £43.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

When all is said and done it looks like just another keyboard, nothing special. Some people will buy it only because they translate the ridiculous price into the best kit available, take the Mad Catz Strike 7 for example, some people only buy it because it has a screen and looks a bit different but for no other reason yet they'll fight tooth & nail unsuccessfully trying to justify the cost.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see peripherals marketed just for us forum members to make posting easier if manufacturers thinks it'll make them a bit of money.

Judging from the price of this thing I just see it as a legal scam.

Guest said:

If he really made this for programmers, the home/end keys would be closer. This is just another average keyboard.

1 person liked this | Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Too plain? That is one of its best features. A keyboard that is a keyboard, that doesn't look like it can drive the Starship Enterprise, and quiet, solid keys with backlighting. Tis expensive, but I would give it a look. Don't hate much, but do hate the overwhelming majority of keyboards out there.

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