Quick Drop gives you a speed boost because point-clicking is replaced by pressing a few buttons on your left keyboard side. Instead of navigating to the case structure you type:
Ctrl-Space, c, s, Return
Now image hitting just a "CaseStructure"-Button on your programmable keyboard. A macro does the rest. That should save you some more time (1 keystroke instead of 4).
If such a keyboard has for example 35 buttons then you'd better select the 35 most common VIs/Objects/QuickDrop-Actions for those buttons to see the best effect. Mark the buttons with telling symbols and have a nice gadget.
That is where my question starts:
Is the usage frequency of VIs and other structures already know for common code?
E.g.: Case Structures are most common, For Loops are next, then the Clear Errors.vi etc.
To get that information one had to program a VI scripting tool that walks a codebase that is large enough to get statistically significant numbers.
Unless someone -like NI R&D- already did that (maybe to identify portions of code that generate most benefit for the customer when being optimized) and is happy to share the results...
Actually - that keyboard could even be a NI product... hope they send me a free sample for the idea. 😉
Ctrl-Space, c, s, Return
Or better yet, Ctrl-Space, cs, click. That's Super Quick Drop, where the object is dropped where you click. No need for 'Return'.
The idea of programmable keys has been bandied about before, but I haven't been convinced that moving your hand over to hit the Case Structure button would be much faster than Ctrl-Space, cs, click, when your left hand doesn't need to leave ASDF position, and your right hand doesn't need to leave the mouse.
I agree regarding the "Return" - my personal experience is that I tend to drop the object at the wrong place if I only use the click because it's always a double-click for me. That's why I use "Return" but that may well be mostly owed to my mouse settings and lack of training.
Additionally, as a multi language windows user I had issues with Ctrl-Space so I had to move to Ctrl-Shift-Space first and I'm now experimenting with Ctrl-Shift-<. (That shouldn't cause a significant time difference when hitting but it's one button more to press synchronously.)
But the "cs" you mention is still two button presses so we have three sequential presses: "Ctrl-Shift", "c" and "s".
You are right that any benefit of a programmable keyboard is eaten up if the hand first needs to move to it. But why should the hand be at the normal keyboard in the first place?
I can only think of the "Tab" if one likes to use it (like me). I reckon switching mouse pointer functionality vie "Tab" is so much faster compared to hiting the correct area of the icon. For me, "Tab" definitely would go to the programmable keyboard.