In 2017, when CompositionEvent is supported by many major browsers, I thought it would be easy to implement a small input completion function that supports Japanese input in JavaScript. However, the details of the implementation differed depending on the browser, and I had to do a little workaround.

Test environment

  • Windows 10 / Microsoft Edge 41.16299.150
  • Windows10 / InternetExplorer11 version: 11.64.16299.0
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.6 / Google Chrome version: 63.0.3239.84
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.6 / Safari version: 11.0.2
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.6 / Opera version: 49.0.2725.64
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.6 / Firefox Quantum version: 57.0.1

KeyboardEvent.keyCode

For IME text editing, the KeyboardEvent.keyCode fired by the keyodown event is 229. This can be used to control the process triggered by the keydown event during text editing by IME.

editorElem.addEventListener('keydown', function(event) {
  if (event.keyCode ! == 229) {
    // do something ...
  }
});

https://www.w3.org/TR/uievents/#determine-keydown-keyup-keyCode

If an Input Method Editor is processing key input and the event is keydown, return 229.

Gecko

It seems that text editing by IME doesn’t fire keydown/keyup events in Gecko.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=354358

Update: this issue has already fixed in the end of 2018 🎉.

deprecated

The KeyboardEvent.keyCode seems to be deprecated, and the keyCode attribute was mentioned in the Legacy Key Attributes section of the W3C, so maybe the keyCode is a platform/implementation dependent value that we want to get rid of.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/KeyboardEvent/keyCode

KeyboardEvent.isComposing.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Web/API/KeyboardEvent/isComposing

  • A readonly attribute that is true for text composition by text composition system such as IME.
    • true if the event is fired between compositionstart and compositionend as described below.
  • Browser compatibility
    • Although MDN’s Browser compatibility says that IE and Safari (on desktop) are not supported, we were able to get the value of KeyboardEvent.isComposing in Safari 11.0.2.
    • On Microsoft Edge 41 and IE11, KeyboardEvent.isComposing seemed to be undefined.

I suppose it would be better to use this in the future, but since it is not yet supported in IE and Edge, it is not likely to be used yet…

CompositionEvent

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/CompositionEvent

  • compositionstart: Fired when IME starts editing text.
  • compositionupdate: Fired when the text being edited by IME is changed.
  • compostionend: Fires when the IME finishes editing text.

  • According to MDN’s Browser compatibility, Opera is not supported and Safari is ? According to MDN Browser compatibility, Opera is not supported, Safari is ?
    • However, the data attribute is not yet implemented.
  • To check if InputEvent is being edited by IME, instead of using InputEvent.isComposing, it would be better to monitor CompostionEvent and manage its state.
var isComposing = false;

editorElem.addEventListener('input', function(event) {
  if (!isComposing) {
    // do something ...
  }
});
editorElem.addEventListener('compostionstart', function(event) {
  isComposing = true;
});
editorElem.addEventListener('compostionstart', function(event) {
  isComposing = false;
});

Easy peasy.

CompositionEvent/InputEvent firing order

For more information.

  • [https://www.w3.org/TR/input-events-2/#event-order-during-ime-composition]
  • [https://www.w3.org/TR/uievents/#events-composition-input-events]

Start/edit text editing with IME.

eventnote
compositionstartstart editing
beforeinput
compositionupdate
DOM is updated here
input

When text editing is finished

eventnote
compositionend
beforeinput
COM is updated here
input

Since the order of firing of events is like this, InputEvent during text editing by IME always fires between compositionstart and compositionend.

I checked it.

I wrote an experimental script and checked it with the browsers in the verification environment

  • IE11, Edge41: The input event at the end of text editing does not seem to fire?
  • Google Chrome, Safari, Opera: The input event at the end of text editing fires before the compositionend?

I’m not sure if it’s just my scripting style. Please tell me if it’s just my scripting.

CompositionEvent/KeyboardEvent firing order

For details, see [https://www.w3.org/TR/uievents/#events-composition-key-events]

Start/stop editing text with IME.

eventnote
keydown
compositionstartstart editing
compositionupdate
keyup

When text editing is finished

eventnote
keydown
compositionend
input
keyup

I’ve checked it out.

  • Firefox: As I mentioned at the beginning, IME editing does not fire keydown/keyup events [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=354358].
  • Safari: keydown fires after compositionend when text editing ends (keyCode in this case is 229)
  • Edge: Neither keydown nor keyup fires at the end of text editing

Currently, it seems that the order of event firing is quite different depending on the browser implementation… I don’t think I’ll be using this much, but I’m glad to see that https://www.stum.de/2016/06/24/handling-ime-events-in-javascript/ has a detailed workaround for absorbing differences in event firing order between browsers. I don’t think I’ll use it much, but the workaround for absorbing differences in event firing order between browsers is detailed in [].

Reference

Summary

Currently, it’s pretty complicated when it comes to browser compatibility, and even in 2017, Japanese input is still difficult.