beorg 3.3.0 - The Keyboard Release

November 14, 2019

The big news in beorg 3.3.0 is extensive support for external keyboards. Most functionality in beorg can now be accessed without the need to touch the screen. There also a number of other improvements which we will take a look at.

I’ve marked some sections in this article as Advanced users. If you aren’t familar with scripting in beorg you may want to skip these.

Keyboard shortcuts

An iPad, even the entry level model, can be a productivity powerhouse when combined with an external keyboard. This latest release of beorg contains keyboard shortcuts for almost everything. For example you can now:

Finding out what keyboard shortcuts are available is easy in iPad apps. Simply hold down the ⌘ key on your external keyboard for a second or two. Here is what you’ll see if you do this on the agenda tab:

TIP: Use ⌘-s to save an item, modified notes or what you’ve entered in a dialog. If it’s possible to cancel any changes or cancel a dialog use the Escape key

See reference to all keyboard shortcuts

(Advanced users) Modifying keyboard shortcuts

All the keyboard shortcuts used in beorg are defined in Scheme and can be modified in your init.org. Here’s how the shortcut to commit the text entered in the beorg text editor is defined:

(define-command-title "text-editor.save" "Save")
(define-key "text-editor" "s-s" ".save")

As you can see each shortcut has two parts - the first defines the label shown to the user (in this case Save) and the second the shortcut used. Each shortcut command has a scope (here it is text-editor) and an action (in this instance save). Most screens show shortcuts from just one scope - one exception is the text editor for notes which enables shortcuts for the text-editor scope and the editor-toolbar-items scope (which provides shortcuts for some of the items on the toolbar which appears above the soft keyboard).

The key combination needed to activate a shortcut consists of zero or more modifier keys and a non-modifier key.

Modifier keys:

Key Shortcut modifier
s
Control C
Option M
Shift S

There are also names for some special keys:

Key Name
Return <return>
Up arrow <up>
Down arrow <down>
Right arrow <right>
Left arrow <left>
Escape <escape>

As an example if you wanted the user to press ⌘ + shift + return to save the contents of the text editor you would add to your init.org:

(define-key "text-editor" "s-S-<return>" ".save")

Take at the look at library.org to see all the keyboard shortcuts and how they are defined.

Date picker changes

The date picker now allows you to type in the description of date. Whilst mainly aimed at users with an external keyboard you may find it useful even if using the touch screen.

As you start typing beorg will try and work out what date you want. For example:

The names of the days and months are localised so this should work for languages other than English. Feedback is appreciated from beorg users around the world as to how well this works for them.

Recognised properties

If you are also an Org mode user you may make use of property drawers. In beorg 3.3.0 the following properties are used to change how beorg treats an item:

Text editor - autocorrect

You can now turn autocorrect on and off in the text editor using a new toolbar item. If you ever get frustrated with unwanted corrections use this and relax.

(Advanced users) Scheme searches

If you make use of Scheme in searches on the Agenda and TODO tabs then you can now make use of functions to search the properties drawer.

The function item-property will get the value of a specific property. For example (string=? (item-property item "Author") "Douglas Adams") will match items which have the property Author set to Douglas Adams.

item-effort will get the effort in minutes from the property Effort. For example (<= (item-effort item) 60) will return all items with an effort of 1 hour or less.

(Advanced users) The app badge number

The app badge number is now determined by the number of items returned by a beorg search. The default search used is o k which means overdue items which have a task state. This search could be a Scheme search for more flexibility. To change this set the Scheme variable badge-filter in your init.org.

(Advanced users) New Scheme function toast

As an alternative to the alert function, which shows the user some information and then requires it to be dismissed, you can now use toast. It works in exactly the same way as alert and takes in just a title and message. For example (toast "Greetings" "Hello beorg user!").

Bug fixes

This release has the following bug fixes - if you see one listed here you’ve reported and still have an issue let me know.

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