Jump to content

Photo

Keyboard shortcut history?


14 replies to this topic

#1 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

davidcalgary29

    Quadrunner

  • 6,279 posts
  • Location:Peace River, Alberta

Posted Thu Feb 7, 2019 7:38 PM

Does anyone know the history of control shortcuts? I saw an ad for a control +P print driver for the Sorcerer in a September 1980 magazine, so it must have been around on other systems. Is this a CP/M command?

#2 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

  • 8,853 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 2:30 AM

Wikipedia has an article referring back to teletypewriters and the use of the Control keys.
https://en.wikipedia...iki/Control_key

#3 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

davidcalgary29

    Quadrunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 6,279 posts
  • Location:Peace River, Alberta

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 10:45 AM

Wikipedia has an article referring back to teletypewriters and the use of the Control keys.
https://en.wikipedia...iki/Control_key

 

I saw that entry, but I was hoping for some form of definitive timeline.



#4 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

  • 8,853 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 11:32 AM

Perhaps I misunderstood your question. I was thinking in terms of when did the Control key appear at all and what was it used for (cursor movement, bell, flow control etc), though perhaps you're really thinking of what the Wikipedia article mentions at the end, that computer programs eventually appropriated the Control key for shortcuts of more complex commands, and when that began to happen.

 

The Emacs editor is infamous for its control key shortcut abuse. While EMACS (1976) itself is younger than CP/M (1974) is, they come from different cultures in computing and run on different architectures. It got me curious to look at older TECO editors and found this on Wikipedia:

 

At MIT, TECO development continued in the fall of 1971. Carl Mikkelsen had implemented a real-time edit mode loosely based on the TECO-6 graphic console commands, but working with the newly installed Datapoint-3300 CRT text displays. The TECO buffer implementation, however, was terribly inefficient for processing single character insert or delete functions — editing consumed 100% of the PDP-10. With Richard Greenblatt's support, in summer of 1972 Carl reimplemented the TECO buffer storage and reformed the macros as native PDP-10 code. As entering the real-time mode was by typing cntl+R, this was known as control-R mode. At the same time, Rici Liknaitski added input-time macros (cntl+]), which operated as the command string was read rather than when executed. Read-time macros made the TECO auxiliary text buffers, called Q-registers, more useful. Carl expanded the Q-register name space. With read-time macros, a large Q-register name space, and efficient buffer operations, the stage was set for binding each key to a macro. These edit macros evolved into Emacs.

 

I wouldn't claim this was the first case of control key appropriation, though 1972 further predates CP/M at the very least. Let's research this backwards in time even more!



#5 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

Flojomojo

    You can't handle the truth. No truth-handler, you.

  • 16,239 posts
  • I deride your truth-handling abilities.

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 12:02 PM

I feel like keyboard shortcuts as we know them today started with the Macintosh. https://en.wikipedia...iki/Command_key

 

Windows stole most of these, so IMHO they're pretty close to being standard now. https://support.appl.../en-us/HT201236

 

Prior to the Mac, I would think that most terminal-based shortcuts were system-specific, not common across platforms. 



#6 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

  • 8,853 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 12:38 PM

Dunno, the shortcuts defined by WordStar (1978) became quite popular in other programs and environments too, though it is true that the shortcuts used on the Macintosh eventually won over WordStar.



#7 mr_me OFFLINE  

mr_me

    River Patroller

  • 4,090 posts
  • Location:Ontario

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 12:59 PM

I remember when ctrl-c would cancel your program/command execution. Was that not common among systems.

Edited by mr_me, Fri Feb 8, 2019 12:59 PM.


#8 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

Flojomojo

    You can't handle the truth. No truth-handler, you.

  • 16,239 posts
  • I deride your truth-handling abilities.

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 1:04 PM

control+C is Copy for me since 1984. 

 

I think I would just whale on the BREAK button on the old mainframe. 



#9 almightytodd ONLINE  

almightytodd

    Dragonstomper

  • 842 posts
  • Infrequent Poster
  • Location:Orlando, Florida

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 1:04 PM

I found this entry from the Wikipedia article mentioned above quite interesting:

 

"On teletypewriters and early keyboards, holding down the Control key while pressing another key zeroed the leftmost two bits of the seven bits in the generated ASCII character."

 

Take a look at this ASCII chart and it becomes clear why "Ctrl G" sounds the "bell" in a command line window

 

ASCII.png

 

Notice also that upper-case letters come first, followed by lower-case that are offset by 32. I was wondering if this gives a hint to the keyboard layout of many (most) of the 8-bit computers prior to IBM; look at the ASCII chart for the numbers 0 - 9 and their corresponding symbols. Now look at this TRS-80 keyboard:

 

TRS-80.png

 

I was noticing this recently when I was playing with some emulators of the early Acorn 6502-based computers (Atom, BBC Micro, and Electron). I find it interesting that the same shift-patterns correspond to the keys for  * - + < > , . / =

 

Beeb.jpg

 

I read somewhere else on Wikipedia that the IBM PC keyboard layout came from the Selectric typewriter layout. That would explain the change in the placement of characters like, "@ & ^ _ + * ( ) ".

 

 



#10 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

  • 8,853 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 2:22 PM

Yes, many computers with various BASIC dialects support Ctrl + C to break into the program, though not all of them do.



#11 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

davidcalgary29

    Quadrunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 6,279 posts
  • Location:Peace River, Alberta

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 2:46 PM

I should explain that my original question was triggered by some debate I read about the attribution of the keyboard shortcut. Some (how many?) coders apparently wanted the CTRL + P command to be a shortcut for "paste" instead of the "print" command to which it eventually became affixed. That Sorcerer ad from 1980 made me very curious as to when these commands were adopted and, even more interestingly, standardized -- and on what operating systems -- because, if it was being sold on the Exidy, it must have been seen as a desirable option and there must have been some market demand. But what was using this? And how widespread was its use on computers in the late '70s? I understand that PC DOS 1.0 incorporated at least some features from CP/M (2.1) and can only guess that control commands were part of its structure, too.



#12 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

Flojomojo

    You can't handle the truth. No truth-handler, you.

  • 16,239 posts
  • I deride your truth-handling abilities.

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 3:40 PM

That's an interesting question.

All I know is that the bottom left corner of the QWERTY keyboard is the business district of Undo, Cut, Copy, and Paste (Z, X, C, V) for me.

We should ask some older people.

#13 mr_me OFFLINE  

mr_me

    River Patroller

  • 4,090 posts
  • Location:Ontario

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 4:04 PM

Like carlsson said, wordstar, which goes back to the 1970s had tons of control key commands including ctrl-kp for print, ctrl-kc for copy block, ctrl-kv for move block. In old wordperfect ctrl-p opened page setup.

Ms-dos had a few control key commands, not sure if it had ctrl-p. Printing the screen was ctrl-PrintScrn in ms-dos. In cp/m ctrl-p toggled the printer echo feature on/off. In unix, ctrl-p retrieved the last command.

Edited by mr_me, Fri Feb 8, 2019 4:33 PM.


#14 mr_me OFFLINE  

mr_me

    River Patroller

  • 4,090 posts
  • Location:Ontario

Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 5:32 PM

No, old wordperfect didn't have a ctrl-p. That would have been new wordperfect. I remember the 1980s was an interesting time with software. Every program had radically different user interfaces and I looked forward to seeing new ones. I kind of liked the lotus 123 interface.
  • jhd likes this

#15 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

  • 8,853 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:42 AM

Furthermore, I wonder if the use of the Control key to obtain functions can be linked to the function keys which date back to 1965. While not directly related, I would imagine that the fewer dedicated function keys you had, the more desired it would be to bind the Control key to various functions.






0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users