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readline-js is a jQuery-based framework for emacs/readline-like line editing commands. Future additions will include history and tab completion, just like a real readline library.

Using It

Using readline-js is simple. Include the appropriate scripts in your HTML document, and use the readline function on anything. Only one thing should be readline'd at a time or weird things could happen.

Use of the readline function looks something like this:

$('#my_text_entry').readline('myprompt> ', function(line) {
  alert('Line: ' + line);

The prompt argument is optional. If omitted, no prompt will be added to the element. Note that all keypresses in the document will be sent to the element.


readline-js adjusts the content HTML of the entry element. The prompt will be contained within a <span> with the class prompt, and the character under the cursor will be contained within a <span> with the class cursor. The cursor <span> will also have any of the ctrl or shift classes, depending on whether the corresponding modifiers are being held down. This can be used to alter the appearance of the cursor based on the status of the modifier keys. When blinking, the cursor's class alternates between cursor and cursor-blink.

Limitations and Quirks

  • Currently, only one element on the page may be used for text entry. This is a side effect of the focus model.
  • All key events on the page are handled by readline-js (unless readline() was never used). This is because the keydown and keyup event handlers are attached to the <body> tag.