User Input

Jim Tang edited this page Sep 20, 2012 · 4 revisions

Handling User Input

Normalized User Input

Enyo supports a set of normalized events that work similarly across all supported platforms. These events are provided so that users can write a single set of event handlers for applications that run on both mobile and desktop platforms. They are needed because desktop and mobile platforms handle basic input differently. For example, desktop platforms provide mouse events, while mobile platforms support touch events and a limited set of mouse events for backward compatibility.

Normalized Input Events

Event normalization takes place in Enyo Core, in code from the dom (drag.js, gesture.js) and touch (gesture.js, msevents.js, touch.js) packages.

The following normalized events are synthesized from the available DOM events:

  • down is generated when the pointer is pressed down.

  • up is generated when the pointer is released up.

  • tap is generated when the pointer is pressed down and released up. The target is the lowest DOM element that received both the related down and up events.

  • move is generated when the pointer moves.

  • enter is generated when the pointer enters a DOM node.

  • leave is generated when the pointer leaves a DOM node.

  • dragstart and dragfinish are sent for pointer moves that exceed a certain threshold.

  • drag and drop are sent to the original target of the pointer move, to provide information about the item being moved over (or released over) another element.

  • dragover and dragout are sent in addition to over and out while there is an active drag.

  • hold is generated when the pointer is held down without moving for a short period of time (~200ms).

  • release is generated when the pointer is released after being held down, or is moved off of the node while still held down, but before any potential dragstart event. The target is the same as that of the hold event.

  • holdpulse is generated when the pointer is held down without moving for a short period of time; it repeats periodically about once every 200ms. Use this event to trigger an action after a given period of time. The elapsed time is available in the holdTime property.

  • flick is generated when the user flicks the pointer quickly. This event provides flick velocity data through the properties xVelocity (velocity with respect to the horizontal axis) and yVelocity (velocity with respect to the vertical axis).

(Note that, on the Android platform, the touchmove event must be prevented via inEvent.preventDefault(), or the Enyo dragging system will not function correctly.)

Bear in mind that normalized input events are generated on Enyo controls, not DOM elements.

These normalized events are handled in the usual Enyo fashion, as outlined in Event Handling. For example:

    name: "App"
    kind: "enyo.FittableRows",
    components: [
        {kind: "enyo.Button", content: "Tap Me", ontap: "handleTap"},
    handleTap: function(inSender, inEvent) {
        // respond to tap

Normalized Input Event Properties

Normalized input events have the following common properties, when available:

  • target
  • relatedTarget
  • clientX
  • clientY
  • pageX
  • pageY
  • screenX
  • screenY
  • altKey
  • ctrlKey
  • metaKey
  • shiftKey
  • detail
  • identifier

Keyboard Input

Because Enyo apps may be run on the desktop, the framework must also be able to deal with hardware keyboard input--which, unlike mouse input, cannot be translated into normalized input events.

Now, in most cases, you won't have to worry about setting up your application code to accept keyboard input directly. If your app uses the text field kinds built into Enyo and Onyx, those kinds will handle keyboard input automatically. However, there may be situations--in some games, for instance--in which you want your app to respond directly to keyboard-related DOM events.

To do this, you can use an enyo.Signals instance to listen for the events onkeydown, onkeypress, and onkeyup. Each keystroke fires an onkeydown and an onkeyup; if the keystroke generates a character, there will also be an onkeypress event fired between onkeydown and onkeyup.

The following example kind implements some simple handling of keyboard events:

    name: "KeyboardEventExample",
    kind: "enyo.FittableRows",
    classes: "onyx",
    components: [
        {name: "myContent", content: "Please do not press the spacebar."},
        {kind: enyo.Signals, onkeypress: "handleKeyPress",
            onkeydown: "handleKeyDown", onkeyup: "handleKeyUp"}
    handleKeyDown: function(inSender, inEvent) {
        // Can use inEvent.keyCode to detect non-character keys
        if (inEvent.keyCode === 8) {
            // respond to backspace
    handleKeyPress: function(inSender, inEvent) {
        // Use inEvent.charCode to detect spacebar
        if (inEvent.charCode === 32) {
            this.$.myContent.setContent("I thought I asked you not to press the spacebar.");
        } else {
        var key = String.fromCharCode(inEvent.charCode).toUpperCase();
            this.$.myContent.setContent("Last key pressed: " + key);
    handleKeyUp: function(inSender, inEvent) {
        // Respond to keyup, if desired

Within the onkeydown and onkeyup handler methods (handleKeyDown and handleKeyUp), inEvent.keyCode is the JavaScript key code representing the key that was pressed. In the onkeypress handler (handleKeyPress), inEvent.charCode is the decimal value of the Unicode character generated by the keypress; you can get the character itself as a string by passing inEvent.charCode into String.fromCharCode().

For example, let's say I press the J key on my keyboard to type a lowercase "j". First, an onkeydown event is fired, in which inEvent.keyCode has a value of 74, the JavaScript key code for "j". (Note that there is no distinction between lowercase and uppercase in the JavaScript key codes.) Then an onkeypress event is fired, in which inEvent.charCode has a value of 106, which is the decimal value of the Unicode character lowercase "j". Finally, an onkeyup event is fired, in which, once again, inEvent.keyCode is 74.

Now, let's say I press "SHIFT + J" on my keyboard to type an uppercase "J". This fires two sets of onkeydown/onkeyup events. In the first, inEvent.keyCode has a value of 16, representing the SHIFT key, and there is no associated onkeypress event since there is no character generated. In the second onkeydown and onkeyup, inEvent.keyCode has a value of 74, which we've seen is the JavaScript key code for "j". Between the second onkeydown and the second onkeyup, an onkeypress event fires, in which the value of inEvent.charCode is also 74, representing the decimal value of the Unicode character uppercase "J".

Note that returning true from the onkeydown handler will prevent the onkeyup from firing, but will not suppress the onkeypress event.

For a more elaborate example of keyboard event handling, see the CryptoTweets sample app.