With iOS 8 Apple now support third party custom keyboards
A custom keyboard replaces the system keyboard for users who want capabilities such as a novel text input method or the ability to enter text in a language not otherwise supported in iOS.
The Chemistry Keyboard allows users to enter chemical formulae, equations etc without having to struggle entering subscripts etc. Whilst the chemistry keyboard is an app in itself it also allows you to use the custom keyboard with other applications.
Since the update to Yosemite and iOS8 now allows the capture of an attached iPhone screen using Quicktime I thought I’d use the opportunity to try a few screen captures.
The Chemistry Keyboard application can be used to get Wikipedia information about a chemical as shown below, the molecular weight is however calculated locally.
To make the keyboard available to other applications you need to go into setting as shown below.
You can now use the keyboard in other applications.
This is a very neat addition, it is always a challenge to fit all the desired functionality into a confined user interface. It would be nice if the user could define their own complex functional groups to allow rapid access.
The following characters are supported
superscripts: ⁰ ¹ ² ³ ⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ⁽ ⁾ ⁺ ⁻, subscripts: ₀ ₁ ₂ ₃ ₄ ₅ ₆ ₇ ₈ ₉ ₍ ₎ ₊ ₋, arrows: → ⇌ ↔ ⇢ ↛ and other chemistry related Unicode characters.
This very nicely demonstrates the utility of custom keyboards, and how they can add additional value to existing applications.
Last updated 20 November 2014