KAB support for Keyman 14 or 15

I upgraded to Keyman Developer 14 at some point recently and have a suspicion that the change may be preventing some of my lexical models from working in the App though they work in the Keyman test environment. Any plans for when KAB might be able to incorporate the latest KMEA? (A straight .aar replacement in KAB doesn’t build a working app.) If it’s soon then I’m happy to wait but otherwise I may try reverting to Keyman Dev 13.

We have to make changes to the KMEA code to make it work in KAB. This is something that we would likely do in the next full release, but I don’t know if it is planned yet. I will add a task.

You may well have been following things on the slow typing Keyman thread but version 14.0.277 brings a very significant usability improvement so it would be great to know roughly when you think someone might be able to bring this version into KAB.

@rowbory Thanks for letting us know. I believe we are still using Keyman 13 libraries. There is an issue to update to Keyman 14. I have added a note to use 14.0.277 or better.

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I wonder if it might be possible to link to KAB versions of keyboards in Keyman Cloud (this is a new feature idea, really) so when users search for a keyboard on keyman.com they can install a KAB app instead of Keyman if it’s available? This would take some thinking through:

  • One of the positives of keyman.com at present is that downloads are extremely reliable, and pointing to non-Keyman-managed downloads (even if through Play Store) would make additional maintenance for the keyboard management team. (In the past we used to link to other sites for some keyboard downloads, and that ended up being one of the most problematic parts of the site.)
  • If a keyboard is updated on keyman.com, there’s no guarantee that its KAB equivalent will be updated on the same schedule – and vice-versa.
  • This would make another decision point for users which can actually hinder usability – which app do I download??

Still, is this of interest? Would it mesh with the distribution pattern of KAB apps?

@chrisvire, if you want any assistance with the 13.0 to 14.0 migration for KAB, @darcy would be able to answer any questions pretty rapidly.


One of the reasons for making a KAB app is to make a keyboard app that does not need network permissions. Users who are suspicious of governments and bad actors are not going to install a keyboard app that could be a key logger.

Updates to the keyboard are handled by the publisher of the app and updating the app in Google Play. How often are keyboards updated?


@Marc, regarding the updating from 13.0 to 14.0, KMEA has source code in it that does network communication. We have to “fork” KMEA and make modifications to disable this source code. It would help if those network communications would be externalized from KMEA.

We see keyboard updates multiple days a week. The update schedule for keyboards is widely varied – some have received multiple updates in a year whereas others have never had an update since publication.

Yes. The Keyman Cloud code really should be in the Keyman app, not Keyman Engine. Can you open an issue for this along with some reasoning and example of what you are currently doing when you fork and modify the engine? It would be far better if you could use the engine unmodified – perhaps we can look at working together to make the code shift in the Keyman source?

Two developments in KM 14 have made me very eager indeed for KAB to adopt KM14 as the engine rather than 13:

As I understand it KAB uses a slightly customised version of the android.aar engine file so my question is whether anyone is likely to be able to update KAB to use KM14 or whether I should just advise people to use Keyman for now. Unfortunately these two issues seem to be a major blocker against significant use of a KAB keyboard.

Alternatively, if I’m missing a trick and wrongly blaming it on the version of KM embedded in KAB then please let me know.

#5396: feat(android): move all network and sd file access out of Keyman Engine into Keyman is work we plan to complete for version 15.0. We have not scheduled into our sprint planning, but expect it later this year.

@rowbory What platform (Windows, Mac or Linux) do you use? I am working on updating KAB for next release and I would like to get a beta for you to try out before we release to make sure it works for you.


Mainly using Mac but with Windows and Linux in virtual machines. I really appreciate your hard work.