When it comes down to tweaks, they fall into really two categories: tweaks that are either useless or overpriced, or those that are useful and are well worth the cash they ask for. In the case of KBShortcuts, it is definitely the latter in terms of quality and worth. One area that Apple has lacked in terms of functionality is the keyboard in iOS. Other than changing the language and a few other features, the keyboard is standard and doesn't offer much more other than just the typing aspect. Swype specifically, available on the Android and Windows OS, offers features to the users on that end of the spectrum - but where's the customization in iOS? The jailbreak community fixed this problem when jailbreak developer iSam (@7usamNZ) created KBShortcuts. Here's what it can do.
KBShortcuts offers a ton of useful features that can be simple activated on the keyboard by swiping from the space bar. While on the keyboard, hold down from the space bar and swipe to the "?" symbol to view all the different commands you can perform. The list is extremely lengthy and comprehensive which makes this tweak extremely useful. Some of the capabilities you can do with KBShortcuts include:
- Select All
- Go to
- Insert Quicktext #(x)
- Set bookmark
- Much more
If the different swipe combinations don't fit your fancy, you can swipe to the "!" symbol and change the method by which you do each command. This gives you customization in regards to methods. Follow the instructions on the screen to change whichever method(s) you wish.
Inside of the KBShortcuts settings, you can change components such as:
- Enable/disable KBShortcuts
- Translation Language (which applies to when you translate a word or block of text using a swipe method)
- Set child lock on or off to reduce accidental usage
- Quick Text section (which allows you to set what your email is for inputting purposes as well as different quick text words or sentences (corresponds to the number when swiping and using the method number)
As a whole, KBShortcuts is jam packed with a ton of useful features that are easily accessible from your keyboard; which is key to its success. After speaking with the developer specifically, I found out that he seems to be avidly working on bugs and fixes as well as continually innovating the features list. This is a good sign and shows that there's a lot coming in the future for this tweak.
Give it a try and download from Cydia. It's available in Cydia for $2.50 and is available on all devices and firmwares 3.2+ (does not work currently on iOS 5).
The developer iSam (who I later found out his name was Hussam), was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions about KBShortcuts. Read below to here what he has to say. For the purposes of the interview, we'll call him "Sam."
JOSH: What gave you the idea to make KBShortcuts? How long did it take for make a working version?
SAM: I have had a tweak called SwipeToMoveCursor for ages, which moves the cursor one position to the left or right by swiping in that direction on a text input field. I was always thinking it would be good if it could move to the end or beginning of the word (like ctrl + left/right on a PC). While working on Delete Word it just came to me that I can do that using the virtual keyboard, which made me think why not make a shortcut for each of the keys, and make them as close to the standard used in computers. It took me a bit over two weeks of coding to get the working version which is in the demo by Jeff @iDownloadBlog, and about a week after that of fixing stuff until the release.
JOSH: Was this a difficult tweak for you to make or was this fairly simple. If it was difficult, what components were the most difficult?
SAM: I would say this was neither a simple tweak nor a difficult one to make. Being a relatively new developer with not much experience I had to look at a lot of documentation, and do a lot of experimentation to get each of the functions to work, and it is still far from perfect. My only means of testing is my iPhone, so as I expected I had to fix a lot for it to work properly on iPads. Luckily my friend Tahir Patel volunteered to play with the tweak and send me log files frequently so I could make it compatible with the iPad.
JOSH: Do you have any planned future updates with new features upcoming
SAM: Regarding future updates, I am working mainly on bug fixes at the moment rather than introducing new features. Although I do plan to add Synonyms to the Definition function, and I have already added "selection extending" (Just like Shift+Direction on computers). I've got some other ideas to add which would make the tweak even easier to use, but like I said my main priority right now is bug fixing. After that I want to port my tweaks to iOS 5, if I can figure out how to!
JOSH: Are you working on any other projects? If so, can you speak on them?
SAM: Right now I am not working on any other tweaks, although I do have some cool ideas for later. The reason is that my Master's thesis deadline is coming up and I've been procrastinating by tweaking for long enough
JOSH: What other applications have you made and are available (App Store and (or) Cydia)?
SAM: My other tweaks on Cydia are all Keyboard related (only because I haven't had time for more yet!). There's Delete Word (and paid version "Delete World") which add functions similar to CTRL + Backspace/Delete on PCs. Double At is the other one, which is a keyboard shortcut to quickly enter some text (or email address). Got nothing on the AppStore yet. I have a couple of ideas which I think would work on the larger (more restricting) market, but I'd need at least a Mac and a developer account first.
Watch this video, courtesy of iDownloadBlog to see how KBShortcuts works in real-time:
Keep up to date on Sam's work with KBShortcuts and other projects by following him on Twitter at @7usamNZ
Source(s): Hussam Al-Mahoozi, iDownloadBlog