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Are there modifier-key-based alternatives to the F-key shortcuts? If so then one should be using those instead; in fact one should be using those instead of the F keys anyway, since they're (by all accounts; not an expert) faster and more convenient for touch-typing. (They may be slightly less discoverable than the function-key versions, but that's no longer a problem once you've gone ahead and discovered them.) If there's no modifier-based alternative to some important shortcut, then that's certainly pretty dreadful. It is more the ISV's fault than Apple's, but obviously that's cold comfort to users. What Apple should do, though, is map keys on the right-hand side of the mechanical keyboard to the F keys while the Fn button is held down —so, like a typical laptop numlock, only with a momentary rather than a latching modifier —instead of only changing the Touch Bar display.

Real functions keys are excellent for debugging -- single step, step into, etc.

Modifier-based shortcuts are not as good because it usually takes two hands, and maybe I want a hand free to use the mouse to scan values, operate the UI I’m testing, etc.

Also, IDEs have a ton of functions so all the simple modifier combinations are already in use. A complex two-hand combination is good for something you frequently use once while typing (e.g. “show autocomplete”). Debugging, on the other hand, is something you do relatively infrequently (hopefully!) but when you’re in that mode, it’s great to have dedicated single keys, closely clustered together.

Physical keys are much easier to use than touchscreen buttons, especially when not looking at the keyboard.

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