Inputting Hong Kong Chinese with GNOME 3.6

As I wrote previously, GNOME 3.6 will integrate tightly with IBus.

This is because GNOME takes responsibility for its users, and wants to provide to all of them a great, out of the box experience. Even those whose language requires complex inputting methods.

Many people have been involved in this integration (both on the GNOME and IBus sides), and the result is impressive when compared to what we had before. It's all incredibly straightforward to set up (my user testing indicates that non-geeky Windows users have no trouble doing it themselves), but I can't resist to show it off anyway. Plus, such a great feature deserves a lot of promotion.

Below is how Hong Kong people will be able to start inputting Traditional Chinese in GNOME 3.6. The screenshots were taken on GNOME 3.5.92, but very few should change before the final release.

We're starting with only one input source: the French keyboard layout I use on my laptop. Nothing to see here, the input status icon only appears if you have configured more than one input source:

01_only_one_input_source.png

As one would expect, input methods can be set up in the GNOME System Settings:

02_system_settings.png

Yes, options related to your language are found in the Region & Language panel:

03_region_languages.png

Add a new input source in the aptly named tab:

04_add_input_sources.png

Search for chinese, and pick your input method. That's where it becomes interesting for Hong Kong people. Most of you will want to use quick3 or maybe cangjie3, but we still included quick5 and cangjie5 for those looking towards the future, and even stroke5 for the disabled and the elderly (or the 鬼佬 ;-) ):

05_add_chinese_input_sources.png

There, your Chinese input method is available:

06_input_sources.png

Observe how the input status menu now allows you to choose your input method (or use the CTRL+space keyboard shortcut) :

07_input_sources.png

It really can't get any simpler.

What's really exciting, is the way input methods are presented in the same place as the simple keyboard layouts. I think this mere fact is a strong statement from GNOME: from now on, users of input methods (among which are Hong Kong people) are first class citizens in GNOME.

This is a huge first step in the right direction, but of course there are many things that will need to be improved before we get a great user experience. We have plans for making all of this much better for 3.8, and I'm very interested in feedback from Hong Kong users.

And what better time to give your feedback than the GNOME 3.6 Release Party we are organizing in Hong Kong? More details about that will come soon, stay tuned. ;-)