Key Handling

Published: September 03, 2019
Edited: December 08, 2020

TV remotes usually generate key events in the browser. Lightning attaches a key event listener to the canvas element, and provides a way to handle key-based input.

The focus path is responsible for key handling. When a key is received, it is handled in the following way:

  1. Search the focus path top-down for a component that has a _capture{Keyname}() or _captureKey() method.
  2. If no capture handler was found, search bottom-up for a component that has a _handle{Keyname}() or _handleKey() method.

If a key handler returns false, propagation is not stopped and the next component is allowed to handle the key event.


Lightning can be configured to map a specific key to a certain handler method. The default key mapping supports Left, Right, Up, Down, Enter, Back (backspace) and Exit (escape). If the key is not specified in the mapping, it can still be handled by the catchall _handleKey() method. The keymapping can be customized as follows:

class BasicUsageExample extends lng.Application {
    static _template() {
        return {
            Message: {text: {text: "Press 's' key to show Search"}}
        this.tag("Message").text.text = "Search";

const options = {stage: {w: window.innerWidth, h: window.innerHeight, useImageWorker: false}}
options.keys = {
    38: "Up",
    40: "Down",
    37: "Left",
    39: "Right",
    13: "Enter",
    83: "Search" // Map s to search
const app = new BasicUsageExample(options);
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