Writing applications with a split screen keyboard

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One of the aesthetic updates of Symbian Anna was its split-screen keyboard. Symbian users would finally be able to see what they were typing in context, rather than having a full screen editor cover up the whole screen. However, third party developers wanting to use this new feature have found the information to be rather scattered. Fortunately, Talv Bansal, developer of applications like SymFTP and SymPaper, has gathered together the information and code for developers to follow. Read on for a summary and links.

Talv explains in his blog post that getting the split screen keyboard to work in Symbian is a multi-step problem. The first hurdle is actually triggering Qt to launch the keyboard, and then the application has to detect that this has happened and alter its layout where appropriate.

  • Open a split entry keyboard
  • Detect the keyboard being opened
  • Move / resize elements on the app to ensure the text elements are visible
  • Detect keyboard closing
  • Put elements back to their original state

According to Talv, writing a split screen keyboard enabled Symbian application requires a mixture of Qt and Symbian C++ code. His post provides all the code for the appriopriate C++ header files, as well as links to relevant information.

There is a twist in the plot though …

Ohhhh and one other thing to mention, if the user is using predictive entry on their phone with the split keyboard then it will almost most definitely crash, this can be fixed by adding the following capability to the pro file, it will require your app to be signed though:


You can read Talv’s blog post in full by clicking here.


David Gilson for All About Symbian, 31st August 2011.