Connecting to Terminado

Xterm.js can connect to backends other than the default node.js backend, as an example we will build a simple Terminado application, and hook up to it with xterm.js. Terminado is a python/tornado websocket host for terminal applications.

We begin by downloading and installing Terminado with pip install terminado. The script for a basic Terminado application is surprisingly simple:

import tornado.web
from tornado.ioloop import IOLoop
from terminado import TermSocket, SingleTermManager

if __name__ == '__main__':
    term_manager = SingleTermManager(shell_command=['bash'])
    handlers = [
                (r"/websocket", TermSocket, {'term_manager': term_manager}),
                (r"/()", tornado.web.StaticFileHandler, {'path':'index.html'}),
                (r"/(.*)", tornado.web.StaticFileHandler, {'path':'.'}),
    app = tornado.web.Application(handlers)

This script (referred to as is adapted from the Terminado “single” example. This application requires an index.html that correctly hooks Xterm.js up to the websockets provided by the Terminado server at the /websocket endpoint. We will make use of the terminado addon provided by Xterm.js itself to create a barebones example:

<!doctype html>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/dist/xterm.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/demo/style.css" />
    <script src="/dist/xterm.js"></script>
    <script src="/dist/addons/terminado/terminado.js"></script>
    <div class="container">
      <div id="terminal-container"></div>

      var term = new Terminal(),
          protocol = (location.protocol === 'https:') ? 'wss://' : 'ws://',
          socketURL = protocol + location.hostname + ((location.port) ? (':' + location.port) : '') + "/websocket";
          sock = new WebSocket(socketURL);

      sock.addEventListener('open', function () {

Save this file as index.html alongside in the root directory of the Xterm.js repository, run the application via python and connect to http://localhost:8010 to see a terminal created within your browser.

Terminado communications protocol

The difference between the terminadoAttach() function provided by the terminado addon and the attach() function provided by the attach addon are minor. Terminado simply requires messages declare the type of data they carry by sending (for example) ['stdin', stdin_data] instead of stdin_data over the websockets. The differences between the two addons can be easily seen by diff’ing the two addons’ javascript files in the dist/addons directory of the xterm.js repository.