Comparison of similar programs to Mecanog (May 2008)

Introduction

Mecanog is a freeware program for learning typing, and as from version 2.0, October 2008, is also of open source, in sourceforge.net.

It has 2 accessory programs: MecAlu (Mecanog for students) and EdiGesMec (a lessons manager for professors and for studentsí progress), in phase beta.

Materials and methods

Source

I have made a complete search of programs for learning typing, which can run on Windows, in sourceforge.net, among those in which "Typing" appears as the keyword.

Exclusions

Those in which the virtual keyboard doesn't appear and those that only check that the characters have been written correctly: N-Type, Xmikrobi, Complete! Typing Tool, typespeed, GNU Typing Trainer.

Those that have a single keyboard: WeiLiYu, Kitab: Arabic An Keyboard Typing Tutor, Urdu Typing Tutor.

I have not been able to install: Griffin Typing, Teaching Kids to Type.

Programs to compare

Of them all, the only 2 programs comparable with Mecanog:

Results

Comparison for similar benefits

Number of keyboards: Mecanog: 119, Klavaro: 29 and TypeFaster: 15.

Game mode: Klavaro doesn't have it, Mecanog is 2D and TypeFaster is 3D.

Keyboard editor: TypeFaster doesn't have it. Mecanogís is better: quicker and allows to configure the keys with Alt-Gr and Shift-Alt-Gr, to configure diacritics, letters with diacritics of 2 pulsation sequences, and Alt-n keys.

Virtual keyboard: appears simultaneously during execution in TypeFaster and Mecanog, but can only be consulted in Klavaro.

Virtual hands: in Mecanog they appear during the execution, but can only be consulted in Klavaro.

Languages: Klavaro: 13, Mecanog: 4 and TypeFaster: English only. The number of helps and their extension is very superior in Mecanog.

Possibility of translation without need to recompile the program: Mecanog with po and htm files, Klavaro: po and txt. Not in TypeFaster.

Presentation of results: Klavaro and TypeFaster: in a graphic way. Mecanog as a grid.

Comparison for divergent benefits

Mecanog also has:

Virtual keyboard with:

Presentation of the keys with one or all of the possible characters for each key.

Resizing characters (if they are too small or wide) within the surface of each key.

Coloured indication of the finger that corresponds to each key.

It responds dynamically to the Shift, Alt Gr, Shift and Alt Gr and Caps Lock keys.

Includes virtual keypad.

Automatic selection of the keyboard, and possibility of having two keyboards loaded simultaneously.

Virtual hands, with indication when the user has only one hand. Editor of finger placement on the keys.

As to the exercises:

Word repetition (a certain number and/or when there is an error).

Definition of specific exercises for keyboard and language. Definition of languages and characters used by the different languages.

Automatic creation of exercises.

Allows to create exercises directly from clipboard content.

In the creation of customized exercises: grade of difficulty is also customisable, and with validation that the selected keyboard is compatible with the exercise text.

Analysis of the exercises (characters and fingers required in their execution).

In the presentation of the results, besides the evaluations by character, there is an historical one with the results for the exercise that has been saved.

Two extra tools:

A simple text editor, with the virtual keyboard that allows you to write by clicking on its keys. Useful for demonstrations, for persons with incapacities and to be able to write seeing the virtual keyboard when you don't have the required real keyboard.

Grid with the Unicode characters, to be able to choose the most appropriate font type.

Conclusions

Advantages:

Mecanog is a program with more benefits than TypeFaster Typing Tutor and Klavaro Touch Typing Tutor.

The game mode of TypeFaster, being in 3D, is showier than the Mecanog one.

Inconveniences:

It doesn't have a version for free environment (Linux).