When comparing Colemak vs Carpalx QGMLWB, the Slant community recommends Colemak for most people. In the question“What are the best keyboard layouts for programming?” Colemak is ranked 1st while Carpalx QGMLWB is ranked 11th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Much more comfortable than QWERTY when touch typing
Pro Highly ergonomic
Pro You can type faster
Because the home row contains more high used frequency characters.
Pro AZXCV don't move compared to QWERTY
If you rely on the Control-A/X/C/V shortcuts (select all, cut, copy, paste), these keys don't move from their QWERTY locations.
Pro Relatively quick to learn
If coming from QWERTY, only a couple of keys move between hands.
Pro Optimized for quick two-letter bigrams
Not only are the most common English letters on home row under your fingers, but many common two-letter combinations are placed next to each other as well allowing for a fluid "inward roll" motion of letter combos (a-r, r-s, s-t, n-e, e-i, and i-o combos). The inward roll motion is debatably speedier than optimizing finger alternation like Dvorak offers.
Pro Backspace is closer
While the uncommonly used caps lock is further away. May be problematic if you previously developed muscle memory of using caps lock as some other key.
Pro Possibly faster
Most people like the common home row and believes it improves speed in comparison to QWERTY.
Pro Multilingual support
Although it‘s optimized for English, the support for a wide range of special characters enables occasional use of other languages. Still, the Carpalx research shows that a significant improvement is also present in Dutch compared to Qwerty. http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?de_correspondent
Pro Punctuation is in the same location as QWERTY
If you already know QWERTY you don't have to relearn the punctuation, with the single exception of the
;: key which is in QWERTY's
P position, like Colemak.
Pro ZXC don't move compared to QWERTY
Like Colemak, the common undo, cut and copy Ctrl-commands don't move from their QWERTY positions. The
V (paste) key does though.
Pro Uses a colemak-like character layout
Uses the colemak character layout of moving P on a standard QWERTY keyboard layout one step down, extending the home row.
Pro Has low consecutive finger use
See the source here.
Pro Letter positions optimized
Via a quantitative effort model.
Con Bad for Vim users
Vim was designed on QWERTY. The HJKL "arrow" keys still work in Dvorak, but their positions make less sense in Colemak.
People think Colemak is great because it is easier to learn, but in reality they are deluding themselves thinking that it is better than more advanced alternative layouts.
Con Designed for English
Like Dvorak, this layout privileges English letter frequency, and lacks accented letters.
Since the topic is about programming, the argument is weak as most code is written in English, yet you don't want to learn a layout to type code, and another to type in your native language...
But the problem isn't specific to Colemak, it is tied to all "ergonomic" layouts, and might have no solution.
Con The "HE" bigram is awkward
For all of Colemak's focus on optimizing English bigrams, the second-most used English bigram, "HE", is still kind of awkward due to same-hand lateral motion. This bigram is much easier in both QWERTY and Dvorak. If your concern is RSI, Colemak isn't good enough.
Con AZXCV don't move compared to QWERTY
This will allow one to intuitively access popular shortcuts, but the truth is that the placement of these keys is a compromise in terms of actual typing ergonomics.
Con Effort model is speculative
The quantitative effort model central to the optimization is based on armchair speculation, rather than a scientific biomedical study. The chosen metrics and weighting for them are likely partially correct. But no-one is really sure how correct.
Con Doesn't take finger length into account
Unlike layouts such as norman and workman, QGMLWB doesn't take the length of fingers into account, for example on a standard QWERTY layout, it's easier to reach E than C.
Con Punctuation is not optimized
Programmers have to use punctuation a lot, but (except for the
;: key, like Colemak) punctuation hasn't been moved from their positions on QWERTY. In fact, the non-letter characters
, . - " _ ' ) ( ; 0 1 = 2 : are used more than the least-frequent letter
z in a reasonable English corpus. Not optimizing punctuation at all, especially for programmers, is nonsense.
Con V key has moved compared to QWERTY
The common paste shortcut used in for example windows has been moved to the right hand, making the layout harder to learn. This however is fixed in the QGMLWY variant of the carpalx series.
Con A very small user base and community
Con Doesn't favor the right hand
For right handed users, this keyboard layout doesn't use the usually stronger right hand more than the left, infact it sometimes favors the left hand more.