## tcell <img src=tcell.png align=right>
[![Go Report Card](http://goreportcard.com/badge/gdamore/tcell)](http://goreportcard.com/report/gdamore/tcell)
Package tcell provides a cell based view for text terminals, like xterm.
It was inspired by termbox, but differs from termbox in some important
ways. It also adds substantial functionality beyond termbox.
* [proxima5](https://github.com/gdamore/proxima5) - space shooter ([video](https://youtu.be/jNxKTCmY_bQ))
* [govisor](https://github.com/gdamore/govisor) - service management UI ([screenshot](http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--OsvnfzSNow/Vf7aqMw3zXI/AAAAAAAAARo/uOMtOvw4Sbg/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2015-09-20%2Bat%2B9.08.41%2BAM.png))
* mouse demo - [screenshot](http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fWvW5opT0es/VhIdItdKqJI/AAAAAAAAATE/7Ojc0L1SpB0/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2015-10-04%2Bat%2B11.47.13%2BPM.png) - included mouse test
* [gomatrix](https://github.com/gdamore/gomatrix) - converted from Termbox
* [micro](https://github.com/zyedidia/micro/) - lightweight text editor with syntax-highlighting and themes
* [godu](https://github.com/viktomas/godu) - simple golang utility helping to discover large files/folders.
* [tview](https://github.com/rivo/tview) - rich interactive widgets for terminal UIs
* [tui-go](https://github.com/marcusolsson/tui-go) - UI library for terminal apps
* [gomandelbrot](https://github.com/rgm3/gomandelbrot) - Mandelbrot!
* [WTF](https://github.com/senorprogrammer/wtf)- Personal information dashboard for your terminal
## Pure Go Terminfo Database
First, it includes a full parser and expander for terminfo capability strings,
so that it can avoid hard coding escape strings for formatting. It also favors
portability, and includes support for all POSIX systems.
The database is also flexible & extensible, and can modified by either running
a program to build the entire database, or an entry for just a single terminal.
## More Portable
Tcell is portable to a wider variety of systems. Tcell is believed
to work with all of the systems officially supported by golang with
the exception of nacl (which lacks any kind of a terminal interface).
(Plan9 is not supported by Tcell, but it is experimental status only
in golang.) For all of these systems *except Solaris/illumos*, Tcell
is pure Go, with no need for CGO.
## No Async IO
Tcell is able to operate without requiring SIGIO signals (unlike Termbox),
or asynchronous I/O, and can instead use standard Go file
objects and Go routines. This means it should be safe, especially for
use with programs that use exec, or otherwise need to manipulate the
tty streams. This model is also much closer to idiomatic Go, leading
to fewer surprises.
## Richer Unicode & non-Unicode support
Tcell includes enhanced support for Unicode, including wide characters and
combining characters, provided your terminal can support them. Note that
Windows terminals generally don't support the full Unicode repertoire.
It will also convert to and from Unicode locales, so that the program
can work with UTF-8 internally, and get reasonable output in other locales.
We try hard to convert to native characters on both input and output, and
on output Tcell even makes use of the alternate character set to facilitate
drawing certain characters.
## More Function Keys
It also has richer support for a larger number of special keys that some
terminals can send.
## Better Color Handling
Tcell will respect your terminal's color space as specified within your terminfo
entries, so that for example attempts to emit color sequences on VT100 terminals
won't result in unintended consequences.
In Windows mode, Tcell supports 16 colors, bold, dim, and reverse,
instead of just termbox's 8 colors with reverse. (Note that there is some
conflation with bold/dim and colors.)
Tcell maps 16 colors down to 8, for terminals that need it. (The upper
8 colors are just brighter versions of the lower 8.)
## Better Mouse Support
Tcell supports enhanced mouse tracking mode, so your application can receive
regular mouse motion events, and wheel events, if your terminal supports it.
## Termbox Compatibility
A compatibility layer for termbox is provided in the compat
directory. To use it, try importing "github.com/gdamore/tcell/termbox"
instead. Most termbox-go programs will probably work without further
## Working With Unicode
Internally Tcell uses UTF-8, just like Go. However, Tcell understands how to
convert to and from other character sets, using the capabilities of
the golang.org/x/text/encoding packages. Your application must supply
them, as the full set of the most common ones bloats the program by about
2MB. If you're lazy, and want them all anyway, see the encoding
## Wide & Combining Characters
The SetContent() API takes a primary rune, and an optional list of combining
runes. If any of the runes is a wide (East Asian) rune occupying two cells,
then the library will skip output from the following cell, but care must be
taken in the application to avoid explicitly attempting to set content in the
next cell, otherwise the results are undefined. (Normally wide character
is displayed, and the other character is not; do not depend on that behavior.)
Experience has shown that the vanilla Windows 8 console application does not
support any of these characters properly, but at least some options like
ConEmu do support Wide characters at least.
Tcell assumes the ANSI/XTerm color model, including the 256 color map that
XTerm uses when it supports 256 colors. The terminfo guidance will be
honored, with respect to the number of colors supported. Also, only
terminals which expose ANSI style setaf and setab will support color;
if you have a color terminal that only has setf and setb, please let me
know; it wouldn't be hard to add that if there is need.
## 24-bit Color
Tcell _supports true color_! (That is, if your terminal can support it,
Tcell can accurately display 24-bit color.)
To use 24-bit color, you need to use a terminal that supports it. Modern
xterm and similar teminal emulators can support this. As terminfo lacks any
way to describe this capability, we fabricate the capability for
terminals with names ending in *-truecolor. The stock distribution ships
with a database that defines xterm-truecolor. To try it out, set your
TERM variable to xterm-truecolor.
When using TrueColor, programs will display the colors that the programmer
intended, overriding any "themes" you may have set in your terminal
emulator. (For some cases, accurate color fidelity is more important
than respecting themes. For other cases, such as typical text apps that
only use a few colors, its more desirable to respect the themes that
the user has established.)
If you find this undesirable, you can either use a TERM variable
that lacks the TRUECOLOR setting, or set TCELL_TRUECOLOR=disable in your
Reasonable attempts have been made to minimize sending data to terminals,
avoiding repeated sequences or drawing the same cell on refresh updates.
(Not relevent for Windows users.)
The Terminfo implementation operates with two forms of database. The first
is the built-in go database, which contains a number of real database entries
that are compiled into the program directly. This should minimize calling
out to database file searches.
The second is in the form of JSON files, that contain the same information,
which can be located either by the $TCELLDB environment file, $HOME/.tcelldb,
or is located in the Go source directory as database.json.
These files (both the Go and the JSON files) can be generated using the
mkinfo.go program. If you need to regnerate the entire set for some reason,
run the mkdatabase.sh file. The generation uses the infocmp(1) program on
the system to collect the necessary information.
The mkinfo.go program can also be used to generate specific database entries
for named terminals, in case your favorite terminal is missing. (If you
find that this is the case, please let me know and I'll try to add it!)
Tcell requires that the terminal support the 'cup' mode of cursor addressing.
Terminals without absolute cursor addressability are not supported.
This is unlikely to be a problem; such terminals have not been mass produced
since the early 1970s.
## Mouse Support
Mouse support is detected via the "kmous" terminfo variable, however,
enablement/disablement and decoding mouse events is done using hard coded
sequences based on the XTerm X11 model. As of this writing all popular
terminals with mouse tracking support this model. (Full terminfo support
is not possible as terminfo sequences are not defined.)
On Windows, the mouse works normally.
Mouse wheel buttons on various terminals are known to work, but the support
in terminal emulators, as well as support for various buttons and
live mouse tracking, varies widely. As a particular datum, MacOS X Terminal
does not support Mouse events at all (as of MacOS 10.10, aka Yosemite.) The
excellent iTerm application is fully supported, as is vanilla XTerm.
Mouse tracking with live tracking also varies widely. Current XTerm
implementations, as well as current Screen and iTerm2, and Windows
consoles, all support this quite nicely. On other platforms you might
find that only mouse click and release events are reported, with
no intervening motion events. It really depends on your terminal.
There is a SimulationScreen, that can be used to simulate a real screen
for automated testing. The supplied tests do this. The simulation contains
event delivery, screen resizing support, and capabilities to inject events
and examine "physical" screen contents.
### POSIX (Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS, Solaris, etc.)
For mainstream systems with a suitably well defined system call interface
to tty settings, everything works using pure Go.
For the remainder (right now means only Solaris/illumos) we use POSIX function
calls to manage termios, which implies that CGO is required on those platforms.
Windows console mode applications are supported. Unfortunately mintty
and other cygwin style applications are not supported.
Modern console applications like ConEmu, as well as the Windows 10
console itself, support all the good features (resize, mouse tracking, etc.)
I haven't figured out how to cleanly resolve the dichotomy between cygwin
style termios and the Windows Console API; it seems that perhaps nobody else
has either. If anyone has suggestions, let me know! Really, if you're
using a Windows application, you should use the native Windows console or a
fully compatible console implementation.
### Plan9 and Native Client (Nacl)
The nacl and plan9 platforms won't work, but compilation stubs are supplied
for folks that want to include parts of this in software targetting those
platforms. The Simulation screen works, but as Tcell doesn't know how to
allocate a real screen object on those platforms, NewScreen() will fail.
If anyone has wisdom about how to improve support for either of these,
please let me know. PRs are especially welcome.
### Commercial Support
This software is absolutely free, but if you want to obtain commercial
support (giving prioritized access to the developer, etc. on an hourly
rate), please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
I also welcome donations at Patreon, if you just want to feel good about
defraying development costs: https://www.patreon.com/gedamore