back to article Meet – the terminal written in HTML, JS and CSS

Zeit, a San Francisco-based software startup, has released the 1.0 version of Hyper, a terminal emulator written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Why? Well, why not? Hyper is based on Electron, an open source framework for creating cross-platform desktop applications using HTML and JS. Developed by GitHub for its Atom text …

  1. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    May have been an interesting exercise for the author, but for practical use I don't see any point at all. Terminal windows are one application where the performance must be good (sluggishness eats into you productivity in a very concrete way), and no bloat because a power user often keeps dozens of them open at any given time. And it is anyway a solved problem. Until last year, I used xterm for these reasons exclusively, but then reluctantly moved to Xfce4-terminal because xterm does not handle clipboard interactions with Windows when running in VM very well. Xfce-terminal solves this and is almost fast enough. (And can also open web links from selected text, if you want that kind of thing...)

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Toy

      It's obvious why someone would make something like this. It's cool. But I can't imagine why anybody would use it in practice.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: Toy

        Indeed. The first word that come into my mind as a I read this was "why?"

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Toy

      I like toys! This will be quite handy as one of the steps towards the 'desktop' in the browser and freeing you of OS dependency.

  2. mix

    "it offers innovative features like the ability to load websites from the command line"

    start chrome {insert url here}


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't use it, but this has been around for years..

      As for Atom, it took them 1.5 years to listen to their users and comply with EU law...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thanks for this link. I stopped using Atom within a few weeks of its release because of it being slow as balls, but it is wonderful to see the many stages of developer-data-theft-denial.

        "Oh it's totally minor, why do you care?"

        "You're getting a free product, stop complaining!"

        "Microsoft and google already know who you are! They get to do it, why shouldn't we?"

        "Look, we've got a legal team and we're sure a company like ours wouldn't do anything illegal"

        "We spoke to the lawyers. It'll be removed tomorrow."

  3. DrXym Silver badge

    Already done

    Atom and Visual Studio Code already have terminal plugins. They do what they say on the tin.

    A standalone terminal app might require some menus of its own to manage tabs and provide the functionality someone might get from ConEmu, gnome-term or whatever but the main work is already done.

    That said, a GOOD terminal can be a godsend. I use ConEmu all the time because it offers ANSI highlighting, cut / copy / paste, tabs, search and a bunch of other stuff that I wouldn't get from cmd.exe. I could see how a developer's terminal application which also happened to be cross platform could become popular.

  4. seven of five Silver badge

    Bingo time!

    software startup




    based on Electron

    open source framework


    desktop applications

    using HTML and JS

    Developed by GitHub


    ...and that is just the first three lines. Wow!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bingo time!

      Need to shoehorn DevOps and IoT in somehow.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Bingo time!

      If you work in a certain framework, you use words used to describe said framework, shock horror!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bingo time!

      Fuck. My card still has coffeescript, vagrant, mongo, ruby, go, rust and docker on it.

      *throws hipster bingo card on the ground and storms out*

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    particle effect spray

    Ascii Porn?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: particle effect spray

      If I take a look at a project and see that the only use case they imagined for a tech demo is a cursor particle spray, I'm not very impressed with the project.

      Oh, they can also open URLs you say ? Wow, Lynx has been able to do that since 1997.

      Nope, still not impressed.

      Based on HTML and JavaScript ? Now that's impressive. You've created a platform that replicates every other browser in existence. Here, have a lollipop.

  6. Adam 52 Silver badge

    What does it connect to? Are modern browsers so insecure that they expose serial ports through JavaScript?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton


      That's what Chromium on which Atom/Electron is built is FOR.

      It's not a browser JavaScript container.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      It's a application framework that happens to be built on NodeJS and other web technologies. It's not a browser per se although it uses an embedded browser engine to drive its UI. The benefit is somebody writing a plugin or function for the app only has to do it once and providing it has no platform dependencies it will install and run anywhere.

      It's not a radical new concept. Mozilla was doing this a decade ago. Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, all of the plugins plus a bunch of external projects such as xpcshell used JS, CSS, XML to develop apps in.

  7. Alan Bourke

    Since we're on the subject of alternative consoles

    ... there's also Cmder.

  8. deanb01


    Just visited the website to see if it would shed some illumination as to the point of this project and have come away from it none the wiser.

  9. DZ-Jay


    Congratulations, web people! You can now do with JavaScript and CSS on your Web Browser what we could do on our PCs in the 1990s with native applications. This is surely progress!

    You can now read e-mail, open menus, play solitaire, watch movies, and even chat on a Web Browser! Soon you may even be able to do some serious work on it, just like we did on PCs at the turn of the Millenium. Innovation!


  10. Simon Ward

    Nothing to see here, move along ...

    I can achieve much the same effect using CTRL-Alt-T on my Chromebook ...

    This must be some strange usage of the word 'innovation' that I wasn't previously aware of.

  11. Spacedman

    The latest web technologies?

    The latest web technologies eh? Their web page has a Flash object embedded in it.

    Take me away now.

  12. jms222

    Dumb terminal

    What exactly is wrong with my VT220 ?

    1. Mark Dempster

      Re: Dumb terminal

      >What exactly is wrong with my VT220 ?<

      Porn looks rubbish on it. It's also probably rather dirty after all these years - bit of a health risk!

    2. Down not across Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Dumb terminal

      What exactly is wrong with my VT220 ?


      Although I am quite partial to my VT420s.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Dumb terminal

        > Although I am quite partial to my VT420s.

        And I bet it doesn't smooth scroll anywhere nearly so smoothly as the VT420 does.

  13. Alan Bourke

    Why? Why? Why?

    Because sometimes it's enough for something to look cool, that's why.

  14. Boothy

    I had a quick look

    Think I'll stick with PuTTY thanks.

  15. Christian Berger

    While there may a serious usecase for a terminal in the browser...

    ... particulary since it allows you to make simple web applications much simpler and therefore much more secure, adding the bloat of multiple libraries and frameworks kinda eliminates the effort.

    What would make sense would be a "DOM-Terminal" standard. A simple protocoll which turns the browser into a terminal you can send commands to, to modify your document tree.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: While there may a serious usecase for a terminal in the browser...

      FortiGate has terminal subwindow in the browser interface.

      It's needed too because all the options are of course not exposed through the GUI-ish part.

  16. Phil Endecott Silver badge


    It's now 11 years since I wrote Anyterm, the first terminal-on-a-web-page:

    There are some demos there, but you'll probably crash it if you all try at once.

    It's open-source (GPL) and still maintained - I just added IPv6 support a few days ago.

    For those of you asking "why", the main answer is so that people who find themselves behind an http-only firewall can still do command-line stuff on external machines.

    My implementation was largely constrained by the technology available at the time (and the code still has lots of work-arounds for hopefully long-since-fixed browser bugs). It should be much easier to do today if you start from scratch.

    1. DCLXV

      Re: Anyterm

      Clicking the live demo link gives me a 503 error.

      > For those of you asking "why", the main answer is so that people who find themselves behind an http-only firewall can still do command-line stuff on external machines.

      I think this could be practical if I needed to log in from a public computer but then how is key-based auth going to work? What if the network uses SSL Inspection to subvert your HTTPS? I would not want to do any server administration from public computers, but on my own devices it seems simpler to use standard SSH encapsulated in HTTP by way of corkscrew and the terminal environment of my choice.

      I *would* consider using Anyterm if it were pitched as more of a web-based Mosh substitute, i.e. the web app maintains the connection to SSHd and secures it with cookie-based authentication so if the user is mobile and dealing with frequent disconnections it won't interrupt the SSH session. Just a thought, interesting project nonetheless.

      1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        Re: Anyterm

        Right now the bastet and adventure demos are working for me but nano is down.

        They have deliberately low max-session limits...

        I did consider doing persistent sessions, but on reflection I decided that it's better to do that at the next layer down i.e. using screen. Then configure Anyterm to invoke screen, rather than "ssh localhost". I should probably mention that in the docs.

        There is no sensible way to do key-based auth. One-time passwords of some sort might be the best alternative. TBH it's fundamentally not well suited to situations needing more than modest security.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just a terminal?

    Why not go for a full-blown OS: ?

    The really worrying thing is that the security of this Unix-alike thing depends on the security of the browser.

  18. dvhh

    Program size

    ~200MB for a terminal, when I have a better ( less buggy, accept ctrl+a combination ) terminal for a gigantic 472KB ( mintty branch of putty ).

    Those electron based software do look pretty but could surely go trough some diet ( I know I have weird beauty standard ).

  19. Andrew Scott

    Old stuff. IBM had a working 3370 terminal emulator for browsers years ago. Around 2000 I think.

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