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Gestures & Composers

Montage provides a Composer API for supporting commonly used gestures. Typically DOM events are device specific such as click or touch events. The Composer API abstracts these into higher order events such as press, so that you can focus on handling a specific action rather than the multiple ways that action could be carried out. Montage currently supports below actions:

  • press / long press
  • swipe
  • key press
  • drag


The Press Composer handles both press and long press gestures. These abstract mouse clicks and touch events into a common event. The events that are handled include:

pressStart This is the event that is dispatched when the mousedown or touchstart events are fired.

press After the pressStart event is fired, the press event will fire when releasing the mouse button (mouseup event) or lifting your finger (touchend event). This will also fire when a longPress event is fired, so can be cancelled with a pressCancel event.

longPress A press gesture becomes a longPress gesture when it is active for longer than the specified longPressTimeout duration. To avoid a press event firing after a longPress event, it should be cancelled in the longPressHandler by calling the cancelPress() method.

pressCancel This is fired when the press event is cancelled. This can either be because it was manually cancelled by the developer by calling cancelPress(), another element claims the event pointer, or is automatically cancelled due to:

  • Browser firing the touch cancel event
  • User cancels the event by moving away from the element when the mouseup event fires due to releasing the mouse button

press and longPress gestures usage examples

We will create an example that handles a press event, changing the colour and text of the element, and showing a JavaScript alert when a longPress event is fired.

Setting up your composers

As with anything in Montage, you first have import the module into your Javascript file. Both press and long press functionality can be found in the press-composer:

var Montage = require("montage/core/core").Montage,
    Component = require("montage/ui/component").Component,
    PressComposer = require("montage/ui/composer/press-composer").PressComposer;

You then have to create and add the PressComposer:

exports.PressExample = Montage.create(Component, {
     didCreate: {
        value: function() {
            this._pressComposer = PressComposer.create();

Handle the events

Once we have a PressComposer we can add the events we want to listen to. In this case both the press and longPress events:

prepareForActivationEvents: {
        value: function() {
            this._pressComposer.addEventListener("press", this, false);
            this._pressComposer.addEventListener("longPress", this, false);

Finally we need to handle this events in the regular Montage way by implementing a method that prefixes the event name with handle.

For the press event, we add an additional class to the element so that we can style it differently after the user presses the button, and change the text using innerHTML:

handlePress: {
    value: function(event) {
        if (this.element.classList.contains("press-active")) {
            this.element.innerHTML = "I’m active!";
        } else {
            this.element.innerHTML = "Now deactivated";

For the longPress event we create a JavaScript alert, and also cancel the press event:

handleLongPress: {
    value: function(event) {
        alert("Long press event fired.");

In a real world app you may do something like creating a context menu with a number of items for the user to select.

Hooking everything up

The only thing left is to hook the JavaScript up to some HTML using the Montage serialization, and add the styles using CSS:


<div data-montage-id="pressme" class="press-target">
    Click or long click me!


    "pressExample": {
        "prototype": "PressExample",
        "properties": {
            "element": {"#": "pressme"},
            "hasTemplate": false

If you click or touch the element for a short time the PressComposer will fire. If you keep the button pressed or your finger down the longPress event will fire.


Montage currently supports swipe gestures only for touch screen enabled devices, excluding desktop platforms. The spec and implementation of the SwipeComposer is currently being updated for a future release of Montage.