Node.js Raw Mode with Keystrokes

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I find the stuff that people are doing with Node.js incredibly interesting.  You here about people using Node.js to control drones, Arduinos, and a host of other devices.  I took advantage of Node.js to create a Roku Remote, a project that was fun and easier than I thought it would be.  There was one piece of this experiment that was difficult, however:  listening for keystrokes within the same shell that executed the script.

The process for using the remote is as follows:

  1. Execute the script to connect to your Roku:  node remote
  2. In the same shell, use arrow keys and hot keys to navigate the Roku
  3. Press CONTROL+C to kill the script

The following JavaScript code is what I needed to use to both listen for keystrokes within the same shell once the script had been started:

// Readline lets us tap into the process events
const readline = require('readline');

// Allows us to listen for events from stdin
readline.emitKeypressEvents(process.stdin);

// Raw mode gets rid of standard keypress events and other
// functionality Node.js adds by default
process.stdin.setRawMode(true);


// Start the keypress listener for the process
process.stdin.on('keypress', (str, key) => {

    // "Raw" mode so we must do our own kill switch
    if(key.sequence === '\u0003') {
        process.exit();
    }

    // User has triggered a keypress, now do whatever we want!
    // ...

});

The code above turns your Node.js script into an active wire for listening to keypress events.  With my Roku Remote, I pass arrow and letter keypress events directly to the Roku via a REST API (full code here).  I love that Node.js made this so easy -- another reason JavaScript always wins!

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Discussion

  1. Haldun

    I like a lot that you are writing about messing with Iot using nodejs! Looking forward to see more! Thanks!

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