jsMessage Basic Example

Applies To: Construct 2, jQuery, jsMessage

In my last post, Introducing jsMessage for Construct 2, I gave a brief overview of my C2 Plugin jsMessage. jsMessage enables sending and receiving messages in Construct 2 through jQuery events. You can read more in that post, but the basic idea is the ability to communicate to a Construct 2 game through the Browser. The license is free for everybody and attribution isn’t required.

In this post, I’m going to walk through the jsMessageTest Basic game to show you exactly how it works. You can also download it over on CodePlex if you’d like to follow along.

“Game” Overview

When you first run the project not much is going to happen. You’ll see a big red message that says “Nothing Yet…” – once you’ve successfully sent a message the contents will be displayed here.


This is a very simple game project with just a few assets and only a small set of standard objects (Touch, Sprite, Browser, Particles, Text and Text Box). The only custom object is the jsMessage object. This was added to the project like any other object and can be found in the Web section (assuming you’ve installed it):


Receiving Messages in Construct 2

The Event Sheet

jsMessage provides 2 conditions for receiving messages. The first one, Message Received, fires every time a message is received. In our game we are using it to set the text of the txtRecevied object (the big red text). We are also outputting additional information to the console. This helps illustrate several of jsMessage’s expressions but is not something you’d normally do outside of debugging. Here’s what this section of the Event Sheet looks like:


Using the Log in console action of the built-in Browser object, we output information about the received message. The jsMessage.MessageRaw expression provides the full message string. The jsMessage.Command expression provides only the first part of the message before any values (known as the command). The jsMessage.ValueCount provides the total count of values passed (additional strings after the command separated by the Value Separator Property).

Finally, there’s a For Loop that outputs each of the message’s values (if there were any) by using the jsMessage.Value() expression.


Let’s give it a go. For all of the client-side examples we’re just going to type the jQuery commands directly into the console. So go ahead and run the project and open the Dev Tools (Just hit F-12 in Chrome) and switch to the console. Type the following:

$(document).trigger('CKjsMessageSend','Hello World');

Once you hit enter, your screen should look like this:


You can see the txtReceived object had its text set to the message and the console has all the log messages we expected (Raw & Command are equal in this case and the Value Count is 0).

Now try sending this:



You’ll see the txtReceived object gets the full message just like before, but if you look in the console you’ll see some differences. We can now see our Command is DoThing and that we have 2 values: Value 0 is Turds and Value 1 is Sunshine. Of course, we are assuming the use of the default separator (The separator is customizable so it’s always a good idea to use the Separator Events to determine what that is before sending/receiving messages on the client).

Responding to Commands in Construct 2

The Event Sheet

Another condition provided by jsMessage is Command Received. This condition lets you specify the command to listen for. This is what we’re doing in the Turtle section of the Event Sheet:


We are listening for the command, “Turtle”. When it’s received we move a turtle sprite across the screen using a Bullet behavior (There are also a couple of conditions to reset the turtle once it leaves the screen).


Here’s how we trigger this command from the console:



Look at that cute turtle! LOOK AT IT!

You can see everything works just like any standard condition (Note that the console also provides us all the extra information because both the Command “Turtle” Received and Message Received conditions are firing).

Responding to Commands with Values in Construct 2

The Event Sheet

Commands are just messages which means they can also have attached values. This can be seen in the Explosions section of the Event Sheet:


We are listening for the command, “Explode”, but we’ve added some additional conditions to ensure that there is an included value (jsMessage.ValueCount = 1) and that that value is an integer greater than 0 (int(jsMessage.Value(0)) > 0).

Once the above conditions are met,we use a For Loop to create the number of explosions (particle objects) as specified by the passed value (with a max of 10 cause let’s not get crazy!).


Here’s how we trigger this command from the console:




Sending Messages from Construct 2

The Event Sheet

jsMessage provides a single Action, Send Message, that is really easy to use. You just provide the message as a parameter and it’ll take care of it:


All we’re doing above is treating the icon sprite like a button by responding to a tap (or click). We flash the button to give some feedback to the user that they tapped it and then call the Send Message action with the text of the txtboxSend object. Of course, nothing is going to happen if nobody is listening on the other side…


To receive messages from Construct 2 you will need to register to respond to the appropriate jQuery event. Here’s an extremely simple response that just writes the sent message out to the console:


To test, just write something in the text box and click the button:



Sending Messages with Values from Construct 2

The Event Sheet

To send messages with values from your game you’ll build your messages using the same format as above. You can see an example of this in the Responding to Requests section of the Event Sheet:



When we get the command, “FPS?”, we use the Send Message action to send a custom message built by concatenating a command, “FPS”, the separator using the jsMessage.Separator expression and the C2 value, fps. We could have just typed the default separator but since this is a customizable property it’s always better to use the jsMessage.Separator expression.


To test this one, we need a slightly more elaborate response function:

$(document).on('CKjsMessageReceive',function(e,m){console.log('Client-Side Message Received!');var parts=m.split('|');console.log('Command Received: '+parts[0]);for(var v=1; v<parts.length;v++){console.log('Value Received: '+parts[v]);}});

I’ve kept it to one line above so that it can be easily pasted in the console, but here’s what it looks like where it’s a little more readable:

    console.log('Client-Side Message Received!');
    var parts = m.split('|');
    console.log('Command Received: ' + parts[0]);
    for(var v = 1; v < parts.length; v++){
        console.log('Value Received: ' + parts[v]);

SendMessagesWithValuesWhen we send the “FPS?” message to the game it responds with the fps information. Our client-side response just outputs the C2 message right back to the console. I’ve hard-coded the default separator in this example, but you’ll want to use the Separator Events beforehand to ensure you know what the separator is before receiving/sending messages from the client.


Be sure to check out the full documentation for more details. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I’ll show you an actual use case for this plugin. WOWEE!

Introducing jsMessage for Construct 2

Applies To: Construct 2, jQuery

jsMessage is a Construct 2 plugin that enables sending and receiving messages through jQuery events. I’ve just released it over on CodePlex where you can download it and a sample game to show you how to use it. You can use it in the free edition as well as all paid editions. The license is totally open so feel free to use it in your commercial or personal projects, etc. No attribution necessary (although always appreciated).


You can find out how to install it by checking out the documentation on CodePlex (It’s a c2addon, so just drag and drop).


jsMessage is a cool little plugin that adds 2 conditions (Message Received, Command Received), 1 Action (Send Message), 5 Expressions (Message Raw, ValueCount, Command, Value, Separator) and 1 Property (Value Separator).

You can use these to respond to external messages coming through the browser.


There are several other plugins that allow network communication and generally this is the way you’re going to want to go. If you are trying to have games talk to each other or download things, etc. – this is not the plugin for you. The only way to communicate to the game using this plugin is to trigger jQuery events and to register to receive them as well.

I had a specific need to communicate to a running game in a browser I control. I will be demonstrating this technique in an upcoming post and hopefully it will make more sense then. However, there are lots of other uses and I’m excited to see what other people end up using it for.


There is some more in-depth documentation available on the CodePlex site and I’ll be posting an elaborate walkthough using the basic example game in an upcoming post. In the meantime, here’s an overview.

To communicate to a running game you can send messages by triggering the CKjsMessageSend event. Here’s a one-liner perfect for the console window:


This will trigger both the Message Received and Command Received conditions in your game. Command Received allows you to respond to a specific phrase. Message Received is more general and you’ll have to do some comparisons to see if it was the message you were looking for.

You can also send values by using a delimiter. The default delimiter is the pipe | but this can be changed as a game setting. To find out what the separator has been set to you can use the CKjsMessageSeparatorQ and CKjsMessageSeparatorA events. It might look something like the following:

    var jsSeparator = '';

    //Prepare to respond to the Separator Answer
        jsSeparator = m;

        //Send a message with values
        $(document).trigger('CKjsMessageSend','MyCommand' + jsSeparator + 'Value1' + jsSeparator + 'Value2');

    //Ask the game what the Separator is

In other words, register to respond to the CKjsMessageSeparatorA event and then trigger the CKjsMessageSeparatorQ event to have the game respond.

Within the Message Received or Command Received condition you can get a count of the values sent with the jsMessage.ValueCount expression and then request those values using the jsMessage.Value(0) expression. There are also expressions to get the raw message (jsMessage.MessageRaw), just the command (jsMessage.Command) and even the configured separator (jsMessage.Separator).

The game can also send messages using the Send Message action. Here’s a quick example of how to register to receive these messages:


This will simply print out whatever message was sent directly to the console.


That’s the basic overview of the plugin. If you have a need for this kind of interaction then go download it and check out the example “game” (it’s free!). In my next post we’ll make this a little clearer by walking through the example game in detail.

Printing the Display View of an InfoPath List Item Form

Applies To: SharePoint 2010

I’ve written previously about a cool feature in SharePoint 2010 Server Enterprise that allows you to customize list item forms using InfoPath. It’s really simple to do and you can get some pretty cool results in just a couple of minutes. For instance, I posted a while back about how to use SharePoint column validation to validate email addresses and phone numbers. Those are still good techniques, but by using an InfoPath list item form it’s just a validation drop down (you can even do regular expressions) and you’re done!

So the ease of validation, conditional hiding of fields, etc. are all pretty useful. However, the thing I like it most for is the ability to use different InfoPath views to match the list item views. So you can have different columns available when you’re editing than when you’re adding a new item, for instance. I especially like to spruce up the Display form.

(For some quick tips on how to get the different views working check out the top of my old post)

So, let’s say you’ve got a nice looking display form. Users open that thing up and decide to print. There’s no button, so they use the print button in the browser. Generally they’ll end up with some mess that prints all of your branding, usually some of the list behind the modal dialog, and if you’re lucky mixed in there somewhere will be your display form. Obviously, that’s not going to cut it.

So I did some digging and found some examples of people using javascript to print the form and their solutions were pretty intriguing. But I didn’t particularly want to have to apply some javascript to every form or to have to add a content editor to the pages, etc. I wanted something that just worked on existing forms and new ones too. So I did a little research into Ribbon customization and came across this great series by Chris O’Brien.

I put it all together in a solution and put it over on CodePlex as WireBear InfoPath Printer. There’s some stuff about it’s license over there (Free for personal and commercial use, etc.) and the basic installation instructions. It’s super easy to setup since it’s just a standard SharePoint Solution that you globally deploy.

You can find the full source code over on CodePlex. It’s not too complex and I’ll probably explain most of it in the next couple of posts. Bottom line is that it adds a Print button to the Ribbon when viewing list items that use an InfoPath Form:

The final printout only shows the form (No Ribbon, No Header, No Footer, No QuickLaunch, etc.).

The button is added using Custom Action XML that is deployed as a feature in the solution. The XML is targeted to allow the button to only be present when Viewing a List Item using an InfoPath Browser based List Form.

When you click the button, standard JavaScript is executed to find the InfoPath div element on the page and to copy the form’s HTML into a new window (along with all standard CSS/script references already present) and uses the browser’s page printing. Once the print dialog closes, so does the window.

We’ve been using it around here for a while and almost no one even knows it’s a custom solution. It looks like part of the UI and it’s use is immediately understood. So, go get it (It’s free!) and let me know what you think.