Written by Pete Johanson, ZMK Project Creator
This blog originally ran on Pete’s website. For more content like this, click here.
Welcome to the fifth ZMK “State Of The Firmware” (SOTF)!
This update will cover all the major activity since SOTF #4. That was over a year ago, so lots to cover!
Here’s a summary of the various major changes since last time, broken down by theme:
Since last time, there have been several new powerful keymap features and behaviors added, including several asked for features, such as tap-dance and macros.
petejohanson added the caps word behavior, i.e.
&caps_word, in #823 that allows toggling a mode where all all alpha characters are sent to the host capitalized until a non-alpha, non-“continue list” keycode is sent. This can be useful for typing things like
CONFIG_ENABLE_CAPS_WORD without having to hold down shift. This is similar in spirit to using the caps lock key, but with the added benefit of turning itself off automatically.
petejohanson added the new key repeat behavior in #1034 to allow repeating the last sent key-press again, including any modifiers that were applied to that key press. It can be added to your keymap using the simple
petejohanson, taking heavy inspiration on the initial work from okke-formsma, added macro support in #1168. Several common patterns are documented, but one example, changing the underglow color as you activate/deactivate a layer, looks like:
okke-formsma updated sticky keys in #1122 to add the
ignore-modifiers; property; when set, sticky keys won’t release when other modifiers are pressed. This allows you to combine sticky modifiers, which is popularly used with “callum-style mods”.
Apple Device Compatibility Improvements#
petejohanson did some sleuthing and fixed a long standing problem with inconsistent pairing with macOS in [#946]](https://github.com/zmkfirmware/zmk/pull/946). With the changes, macOS more reliably pairs with ZMK devices.
Consumer (Media) Codes#
Another persistent bug that Apple users experienced was related to crashes and problems with keyboard configurations, that was traced to an issue with ZMK’s HID usage that was fixed by petejohanson in #726.
The long awaited locality enhancement was finally merged by petejohanson in #547, allowing more fine grained control of where certain behaviors are invoked. Some key improvements thanks to the changes:
- RGB Underglow behaviors now run globally, so enabling/disabling RGB, changing the color, animation, etc. applies to both sides of a split properly.
- Reset/Bootloader behaviors now run wherever the key was pressed. For example, adding a
&bootloaderreference to the peripheral side of a split will now put that side of the split into the bootloader when pressed.
E-Paper Display (EPD) Driver#
nRF VDDH Battery Sensing#
joelspadin added a new sensor driver to support battery charge calculation by sensing voltage on the VDDH pin on nRF52 chips in #750, which is particularly useful for designs using “high voltage mode” with that SoC.
dxmh and caksoylar have joined the ZMK organization to help with documentation, and have been doing an amazing job adding new docs, and leading reviewing docs related PRs to free other contributors up to focus on other areas. It’s been an incredible addition to ZMK!
Min/Max Underglow Brightness#
This can be useful to be sure that lowering brightness doesn’t set the brightness to zero, and raising the brightness doesn’t consume too much power.
petejohanson helped prepare and test the upgrade of ZMK to Zephyr 3.0 in #1143. The updated Zephyr release brings with it some key BLE stability fixes, as well as various other core improvements that improve ZMK. This was a huge undertaking!
- Contra in #633 – iangus
- Naked60 in #681 – xiushak
- Murphpad in #806 – kylemccreery
- A. Dux in #951 – dxmh
- Bat43 in #956 – dnaq
- Zodiark in #959 – Aleblazer
- Osprette in #974 – smores56
- Knob Goblin in #990 – lucasuyezu
- Redox in #1002 – toddmok
- Elephant42 in #1009 – filoxo
- Chalice in #1022 – joshajohnson
- Boardsource 5×12 in #1027 – fsargent
- Jiran in #1048 – krikun98
- keeb.io Fourier in #1056 – TheButlah
- Lotus58 in #1090 – nettema
- Clog in #1092 – smores56
- Kyria rev2 in #1112 – petejohanson
- Leeloo in #1165 – ClicketySplit
- 2% Milk in #1135 – kurtis-lew
- Ferris rev02 in #642 – petejohanson
- nice!60 in #810 – nicell
- nice!nano v2 in #867 – nicell
- Mikoto 520 in #985 – mrninhvn
- S40NC in #1021 – kylemccreery
- BT60 in #1029 – ReFil
- Seeeduino XIAO BLE (as part of the Zephyr 3.0 work) in #1143 – petejohanson
nicell and petejohanson worked together in #883 to settle on a metadata format that is used to document every board and shield. This now drives automatic generation of our supported hardware page and our more nuanced GH Actions automation for testing changes to ZMK.
Some items listed in the last coming soon section are still under active development.
- RP2040 support
- Peripheral rotary encoder support
- Caps/Scroll/Num Lock LED support
- Mouse Keys
- Wired split support
- More modular approach to external boards/shields, custom code, user keymaps, etc.
- More shields and boards
Some statistics of interest for ZMK:
- GitHub (lifetime stats)
- 105 Contributors
- 791 Closed PRs
- 849 Stars
- 832 Forks
- Discord Chat
- 3430 total registered
- Website (last 30 days)
- 35.9K page views
- 3.29K new users
As we approach the two year birthday for ZMK, I am reminded of how far we have come in such a short time, in large part thanks to the amazing community that has grown around it. I am so grateful to have so many contributors, testers, and user believing in the project and helping make it a joy to work on.