Manages keyboard handling for a component


Purpose: lets a component and multiple mixins all handle keyboard events with a single keydown event listener.

This mixin works at the beginning of the Elix render pipeline:

eventsmethods → setState → render DOM → post-render

Provides the component with:

  • internal.keydown method invoked for each keydown event.
  • tabindex attribute of 0 if no tabindex attribute is set on an instance. This ensures the component can receive keyboard events.


import KeyboardMixin from "elix/src/base/KeyboardMixin.js";
class MyElement extends KeyboardMixin(HTMLElement) {}

Keyboard support is an important aspect of supporting universal access, as covered in the Gold Standard checklist item Keyboard Support (Can you use the basic aspects of component exclusively with the keyboard?) Along with supporting the keyboard, your component should also support the checklist item Declared Semantics (Does the component expose its semantics by wrapping/extending a native element, or using ARIA roles, states, and properties?). See AriaListMixin for more details.

Some related keyboard mixins that rely on KeyboardMixin to invoke internal.keydown include KeyboardDirectionMixin, KeyboardPagedCursorMixin, and KeyboardPrefixCursorMixin.

See also FocusVisibleMixin, which can be used to ensure an element only shows a focus indication if the user accesses the element with the keyboard.


class EnterElement extends KeyboardMixin(HTMLElement) {
  [internal.keydown](event) {
    if (event.keyCode === 13 /* Enter */) {
      console.log("Enter key was pressed.");
      return true; // We handled the event.
    // We didn't handle the event; invoke super.
    return super[internal.keydown] && super[internal.keydown](event);

Handling keys

This mixin uses a keydown listener rather than keyup, as most keyboard behavior (e.g., pressing arrow keys) should respond on keydown for faster response time and to allow key repeats. A keydown event is used instead of keypress because keypress is not fired when many keys are pressed, including Tab, Delete, backspace, arrow keys. (See this webkit changelog for more details.)

When KeyboardMixin receives a keydown event, it invokes a method called internal.keydown, passing in the event object. The component or its other mixins can then take their turns examining the event.