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I have successfully removed and trackers from every corner of my digital life with one exception: Android keyboards.

I have been an enthusiastic user of SwiftKey long before Microsoft purchased it. To this date, I couldn't find any real alternatives. I have tried basically all the keyboard apps in F-Droid, and I say that all of them, with no exception, are way too primitive compared to the experience in used to.

What I need:

- Multi-language support. As someone who regularly types in English, Italian and Dutch (often mixing up words in different language in the same text), I don't want an app where I have to manually toggle the language whenever I need another language.

- Auto-correction, or at least suggestions, and support for custom words. It shouldn't be that hard to download a dictionary locally, finding if a typed word isn't on the list, suggest the word(s) with the nearest Levenshtein distance, and supporting addition of custom words to that dictionary.

- Memorization/prediction of commonly typed sentences (either locally or synchronized over Syncthing/Nextcloud) throw simple Markov models.

It doesn't sound like rocket science to implement, nor something that needs to be privacy-compromising. So why none of the open-source keyboards I know support these features? Shall I invest some time in a PR to one of them if there's really nothing like this out there?

@blacklight same. Swiftkey is atrocious, yet every alternative I have tried is even worse. There simply aren't any good android keyboards.

@blacklight I'm in the same situation, and I've been waiting for Floris Board to approach a more stable version. It looks like their roadmap is aiming at fulfilling most of our requirements.

@m2m @blacklight
I'm another one keeping an eye on Floris Board. I guess the last requirement for prediction suggestions is the one we will have to wait longest for. I think the other points are more or less there now??

@BB @blacklight pretty much. I haven't been using it recently because it still doesn't match what I currently use, but it's close. I'm monitoring their updates and the what's new...

@m2m @BB I tried Floris a while ago and it ticked very few of the boxes I expected. I've just tried the latest beta and I've been surprised by the progress they've made in the meantime - from the UI, to the vast room for customization. Predictions are still missing, even though I see the option to have a system dictionary and a user dictionary. I'll keep a look on their roadmap I guess. I know how to to build text prediction systems with dictionaries, Levenshtein, Markov etc., so if I were to submit a PR for these features it'd probably be to Floris, because a lot of the foundational work has already been done there. Thanks for the suggestion!

@blacklight quick, stupid question that you might have a post about but I'm too lazy to look for, how do you convince people to move over to good messengers like matrix and signal? I keep trying to coax people into encrypted messengers but always find the same bullshit excuse of "I've got nothing to hide" :ablobheadshake:

@Cosette @blacklight

I always show this "nothing to hide people" :

vimeo.com/189016018

and

madetomeasure.online/en/

Some then slowly starts thinking. Videos are available in other languages too. But still after they see the video, lot of people keeps there "nothing to hide" position to be able to stay lazy in the sense of moving and learning. :-(

@kmj @blacklight oop! I'll have to watch this later see if I can sway some people to actually using encrypted shit.

@kmj @blacklight just for shits and giggles why'd you tag the two of us? Lol

@kmj @blacklight I'm a fucking idiot that doesn't understand how threads work apparently... Thank you ...

@Cosette I feel like people need two things to make the jump:

1. They need to be sufficiently disgusted by the way treats their data (in the case of messaging apps, we're talking almost exclusively of Meta, and that company never stops disgusting people).

2. They need to know that if they jump boats they will still have the same features and they won't lose any of their contacts.

Point 2 used to be the trickiest, but I don't think it's the case anymore. I run my own Matrix server with bridges to everything (Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Signal, Twitter, LinkedIn,even sms...), and I've opened it up to the world.

So nowadays my argument has become quite compelling. I tell people "would you like to keep using 4-5 different messaging apps that don't respect your privacy just to be in touch with everyone, or would you like to use a single app that respects your privacy, natively provides E2EE by default, and use bridges within that app to keep talking to all of your contacts that haven't made the jump? "

I mean, I still get people who say" I don't care", but those who are aware of the issues with messaging have become much easier to convince.

@kmj meh... I tried that last week, and although I like its design, it's way too minimal when it comes to features. My problem is that I'm a quick typer who usually makes a lot of mistakes, and I really need a keyboard app that fixes my typos in order to be productive 😁

@blacklight@social.platypush.tech Let me know if you find anything. I still use Swiftkey because anything else makes me want to bash my head against a wall.

@blacklight I use Anysoftkeyboard since I have to write daily in Italian, English and Spanish.

I find it pretty comfortable, whereas I find default Android keyboard cumbersome instead.

AnySoftKeyboard does auto-correction and auto-suggestions, I can't tell you if those are android internal functions or are belong to it though.

I won't come back to the default Gulg keyboard...

@freezr that's a very good option indeed! But I've personally found some of the layout decisions (like the tiny space bar, or the single quote key repeated twice) very confusing. But at least it has proper support for custom dictionaries, multi-language, and decent suggestions. So it may be the way forward, if it at last gave a bit more room to customize the layout...

@blacklight I understood what you wrote, but I never got it as the best keyboard ever... I started using it because a previous Android mobile I had only allowed English and Spanish dictionaries but not Italian and eventually I found it better than the default one. For instance while the spacebar is annoying I find extremely useful the top left/right arrows.

As for today, even though my current Android now supports multiple dictionaries I wouldn't use the default keyboard it is just worst...

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