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    detect-it
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    4.0.1 • Public • Published

    Detect It

    npm npm bundle size (version) npm type definitions

    • Live detection demo
    • Detect if a device is mouseOnly, touchOnly, or hybrid
    • Detect if the primary input is mouse or touch
    • Detect if the browser supports Pointer Events, Touch Events, and passive event listeners
    • You may also be interested in Event From, which determines if a browser event was caused by mouse, touch, or key input

    Detect It's state is determined using multiple media query and API detections. Detect It uses the hover and pointer media queries, the Pointer Events API and max touch points detections, and two Touch Events API detections (browsers respond differently to each Touch Events API detection depending on the device 😩 welcome to WebDev). But now you don't have to worry about any of this, just let Detect It handle the details while you optimize your app for the type of device that's being used. 😁

    Detect It has been tested on numerous real world devices (since 2016), and the tests mock multiple devices and edge cases to ensure accurate results. The detection relies on how the browser presents the capabilities of the device as it is not possible to access the device hardware directly.


    CDN option ⚡️ Recommended usage ⚡️ Device responsive UX ⚡️ Setting event listeners ⚡️ Detection details


    npm install --save detect-it
    
    import * as detectIt from 'detect-it';
    // OR
    import {
      deviceType,
      primaryInput,
      supportsPointerEvents,
      supportsTouchEvents,
      supportsPassiveEvents,
    } from 'detect-it';
    // types
    deviceType: 'mouseOnly' | 'touchOnly' | 'hybrid';
    primaryInput: 'mouse' | 'touch';
    supportsPointerEvents: boolean;
    supportsTouchEvents: boolean;
    supportsPassiveEvents: boolean;

    deviceType

    mouseOnly | touchOnly | hybrid

    Indicates if the the device is mouseOnly, touchOnly or hybrid. For info on how the detection works and how specific devices are classified see the Detection details section.

    import { deviceType } from 'detect-it';
    
    if (deviceType === 'hybrid') {
      // ensure the site is usable by both mouse and touch input
    }

    primaryInput

    mouse | touch

    Indicates if the primary input for the device is mouse or touch. For more info on how to use primaryInput see the Recommended usage section.

    import { primaryInput } from 'detect-it';
    
    if (primaryInput === 'touch') {
      // tailor UX for touch input
    } else {
      // tailor UX for mouse input
    }

    supportsPointerEvents

    boolean

    Indicates if the browser supports the Pointer Events API. See MDN's Pointer Events and the W3C Pointer Events specification for more information on Pointer Events. See Can I use for current support.

    import { supportsPointerEvents } from 'detect-it';
    
    if (supportsPointerEvents) {
      element.addEventListener('pointerenter', handlePointerEnter, false);
    }

    supportsTouchEvents

    boolean

    Indicates if the browser supports the Touch Events API. See MDN's Touch Events and the W3C Touch Events specification for more information on Touch Events.

    import { supportsTouchEvents } from 'detect-it';
    
    if (supportsTouchEvents) {
      element.addEventListener('touchstart', handleTouchStart, false);
    }

    supportsPassiveEvents

    boolean

    Indicates if the browser supports passive event listeners. See this Passive Events Explainer for more information on passive events. See Can I use for current support.

    import { supportsPassiveEvents } from 'detect-it';
    
    if (supportsPassiveEvents) {
      // passive events are supported by the browser
      document.addEventListener('scroll', handleScroll, {
        capture: false,
        passive: true,
      });
    } else {
      // passive events are not supported by the browser
      document.addEventListener('scroll', handleScroll, false);
    }

    Pre-built CDN option

    Optionally, instead of using npm install you can load Detect It directly in the browser. A minified and production ready UMD version is available from the Unpkg CDN for this purpose.

    <!-- in index.html -->
    <script src="https://unpkg.com/detect-it@4/dist/detect-it.umd.production.js"></script>
    // it will be available on the window as DetectIt
    if (window.DetectIt.primaryInput === 'touch') {
      // tailor UX for touch input
    }

    Recommended usage

    TL;DR:

    • Use primaryInput to optimize the user experience for either mouse or touch input (note that the app should still be usable by both inputs). Use this along with classic responsive design that adapts to screen/window size to create a fully device responsive app.
    • Listening for user interactions:
      • If the browser supportsPointerEvents then only set Pointer Event listeners and use pointerType to determine if the interaction was from mouse or touch.
      • Otherwise always set both Mouse Event and Touch Event listeners and use Event From to ignore Mouse Events generated from touch input.

    Device responsive UX

    Device responsive UX is about creating web apps that feel native on every device. This goes beyond classic responsive design, which only responds to the screen/window size, and includes how the user can interact with the app (the capabilities of the device). Can the user hover, swipe, long press, etc?

    There are 3 parts of device responsive UX: Size (size of screen/window), Capabilities (what the user can do/capabilities of the device), and Interaction (is the user hovering, touching, etc). Size and Capabilities need to be known at render time (when the UI is rendered before the user interacts with it), and Interaction needs to be known at interaction time (when the user is interacting with the app).

    • Size
      • This can be determined using media queries, for example (max-width: 600px), either applied via CSS or in JavaScript by using something like React Media.
    • Capabilities
      • This is what Detect It is for - knowing at render time what the capabilities of the device are. There are a number of ways that you can use deviceType or primaryInput to optimize the UX for the capabilities of the device, however, in most cases I've found it makes sense to just use primaryInput and optimize the UX for mouse or touch, while ensuring that the app is still usable by both inputs.
    • Putting Size and Capabilities together, one approach is to optimize the UX for 4 scenarios:
      • Wide screen with primaryInput mouse: desktop/laptop with a normal window
      • Narrow screen and primaryInput mouse: desktop/laptop with a narrow window
      • Wide screen with primaryInput touch: tablet
      • Narrow screen with primaryInput touch: phone
    • Interaction
      • Is the user hovering, touching, etc. To help with this I created React Interactive which provides a callback for interactive state changes (hover, mouseActive, touchActive, keyActive) and allows you to style touch interactions in a way that feels native and is not possible with CSS pseudo classes.

    Setting event listeners

    Setting event listeners can be thought of as either setting Pointer Event listeners or setting Mouse Event and Touch Event listeners. Pointer Events can do everything that Mouse Events and Touch Events can do (and more), without having to worry about if a Mouse Event was caused by touch input and so should be ignored. It is generally preferred to use Pointer Events if they are supported.

    Pointer Event listeners

    If the browser supportsPointerEvents then only set Pointer Event listeners and use pointerType to determine if the interaction was from mouse or touch.

    import { supportsPointerEvents } from 'detect-it';
    
    const handlePointerEnter = (e) => {
      if (e.pointerType === 'mouse') {
        // event from mouse input
      } else {
        // event from touch input
        // note that pointerType can be 'mouse', 'touch' or 'pen'
        // but in most situations it makes it makes sense to treat 'touch' and 'pen' as the same
      }
    };
    
    if (supportsPointerEvents) {
      element.addEventListener('pointerenter', handlePointerEnter, false);
    } else {
      // set mouse and touch event listeners
    }

    Mouse Event and Touch Event listeners

    If the browser doesn't support Pointer Events, then there are a couple of ways to approach setting mouse and touch event listeners.

    Note that a touch interaction will fire Touch Events as the interaction is in progress (touch on the screen), and will fire Mouse Events during a long press (extended touch on the screen), or after the touch interaction has finished (after the touch is removed from the screen) to support sites that only listen for Mouse Events.

    Option 1: If the device is mouseOnly or touchOnly then only set mouse or touch listeners, and if the device is hybrid set both mouse and touch event listeners and ignore Mouse Events caused by touch input (you can use Event From for this).

    Option 2: Always set both mouse and touch event listeners and use Event From to ignore Mouse Events from touch input.

    I prefer option 2 as it's simpler to code and I haven't noticed any performance impact from setting extra listeners (note that setting Touch Event listeners on a browser that doesn't support Touch Events is fine, the browser will just ignore the event listeners).

    import { supportsPointerEvents } from 'detect-it';
    import { eventFrom } from 'event-from';
    
    const handleMouseEnter = (e) => {
      if (eventFrom(e) !== 'mouse') return;
      // code for handling mouse enter event from mouse input
    };
    
    const handleTouchStart = (e) => {
      // code for handling touch start from touch input
    };
    
    if (supportsPointerEvents) {
      // set pointer event listeners
    } else {
      // Pointer Events are not supported so set both Mouse Event and Touch Event listeners
      element.addEventListener('mouseenter', handleMouseEnter, false);
      element.addEventListener('touchstart', handleTouchStart, false);
    }

    Detection details

    Determining the deviceType and primaryInput

    To determine the deviceType and primaryInput Detect It uses several media query and API detections to triangulate what type of device is being used. The entire detection is done when the script is imported so the results are known at render time (Detect It doesn't set any event listeners).

    Detect It uses the hover and pointer media queries, the Pointer Events API and max touch points detections, and two Touch Events API detections (browsers respond differently to each Touch Events API detection depending on the device). For more on this see the comments in the source code for notes about detecting the device type and edge cases.

    Device tests and limitations

    Detect It has been tested on numerous real world devices (since 2016), and the tests mock multiple devices and edge cases to ensure accurate results. However, these detections are limited by how the browser presents the capabilities of the device (the APIs it exposes and how it responds to media queries) so there are some limitations. For example, on an iPad it is impossible to tell if a mouse is connected, so Detect It always treats iPads as a hybrid device with primaryInput touch.

    In the case of a legacy browser or device that doesn't support the detections (e.g. no media query or Pointer Events support), Detect It will fall back to a default mouseOnly or touchOnly state.

    Hybrid device definition

    Detect It has a wide definition for what constitutes a hybrid device, or rather a strict definition for what are mouseOnly and touchOnly devices, because if a device strays from only a fine point and hover with a mouse, or a coarse touch with a finger, then it should be treated uniquely when considering how the user will interact with it. Below is the source code for determining deviceType:

    // a hybrid device is one that both hasTouch and
    // any input can hover or has a fine pointer, or the primary pointer is not coarse
    // if it's not a hybrid, then if it hasTouch it's touchOnly, otherwise it's mouseOnly
    export const deviceType =
      hasTouch && (hasAnyHoverOrAnyFinePointer || !hasCoarsePrimaryPointer)
        ? 'hybrid'
        : hasTouch
        ? 'touchOnly'
        : 'mouseOnly';

    Some hybrid device examples

    • A touch capable Chromebook
    • A touch capable Windows computer (both when it's used as a regular computer, and when in tablet mode, e.g. Microsoft Surface without a keyboard)
    • A Samsung Galaxy Note with stylus
    • All iPads now that they support a mouse and keyboard (note that Apple makes it impossible to know if a mouse or keyboard is attached, so iPads are always treated as a hybrid with primaryInput touch)

    Install

    npm i detect-it

    DownloadsWeekly Downloads

    112,163

    Version

    4.0.1

    License

    MIT

    Unpacked Size

    71.5 kB

    Total Files

    15

    Last publish

    Collaborators

    • rafgraph