Ultimate pattern of handling every input events in JavaScript

In Javascript |

If you’re writing Javascript handlers for touchscreen input, don’t forget other users too.

In my opinion, this is the golden pattern today:

if ('onpointerdown' in window) {
// Bind to Pointer Events: `pointerdown`, `pointerup`, etc
else {
// Bind to mouse events: `mousedown`, `mouseup`, etc
if ('ontouchstart' in window) {
// Bind to Touch Events: `touchstart`, `touchend`, etc
// Bind to keyboard events: `keydown`, `keyup`, etc
// Bind to `click` events

Pointer Events cover both touch and mouse input (and styli and motion tracking and anything else which can ‘point’) simultaneously, so where they’re supported we don’t need to bind touch- or mouse- events… but you might want to handle pointerTypes differently.

Always bind some mouse- events if pointer events aren’t supported – your touchscreen device may not have a mouse connected, but other users’ might… and they might want to use it.

Always bind some keyboard events (unless it’s a totally non-essential feature for which keyboard input doesn’t make sense) – again, you may not use a keyboard, but others might.

Always bind some click events – every input device has some way of firing them, so if something can be clicked, it’s accessible to all.

Keyboardable and clickable elements need to be on the tab order.

You can simplify the whole touch/mouse/pointer situation using a Pointer Events polyfill, like Hand.js or the one in Polymer – then just bind pointer events, keyboard events and click.

This is purely about event handling – remember, you can’t detect a touchscreen but you can ensure you handle one responsibly.

The HTML5 Rocks Touch And Mouse article is a good read for the nitty gritty on these event models

I did miss something out: IE 10 uses ms- prefixes for pointer events, so you should check this beforehand:

var pointerPrefix = 'onmspointerdown' in window ? 'ms' : '';
if ('on' + pointerPrefix + 'pointerdown' in window) {
var pointerdown = pointerPrefix + 'pointerdown';
// etc

Browser support:

This pattern works for every browser & device since the internet was in black & white Currently only IE 10 & IE 11 will follow the Pointer Events path, but both Blink (Chrome/Opera/Android WebView) and Firefox are rolling out support this year Most other modern browsers will follow the mouse & touch path.