AIR for TV — The Virtual Keyboard
November 28, 2010
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As I’ve been porting some of my AIR for TV applications over from Flex, one thing I quickly realized was that I was missing a way to get user input. While AIR exposes all the remote buttons as Keyboard events, there is a real disconnect if you want to accept alpha based input (most remotes simply have numbers and special keys like the MENU or EXIT keys). Since many of the apps I’ve been working on were orgionally designed with the desktop or mobile in mind, completely redoing them just to avoid a keyboard seemed impractal.
I’ve been working the past few weekends on a virtual keyboard component that will allow me to accept alpha user input on a “Virtual” keyboard. This keyboard is rendered on the screen, and allows the user to pick their keys via the directional buttons on their remote (or pointing device, if one is available). I modeled the keyboard after the Microsoft On-Screen keyboard that is available for tablets.
This is one of the first components I’ve created that is being released publically. I know from talking to Jeffry Houser that there are probably 5,000 more things I should be doing for a component that is to be used in the public, but lets just call this my first crack at releasing a reusable component.
Check out the project’s page for more information. I have posted the source code, and the downloadable SWC there if you want to check it out. If you would like to contribute, or help me make it better for everybody else, please let me know — I would love some feedback on it!