[CURATOR’S REMINDER] Winds is a free, open source and multiplatform RSS reader (for MacOS, Windows and Linux). A Web version also exist.

One of the newest and coolest innovations in the tech/hardware world as of late is the touch bar that Apple released on its MacBook Pro last year. As these machines have become more and more popular, more and more applications are utilizing the touch bar to interact with their users in a new dimension. As we watched this trend unfold, we decided that it seemed like a fun challenge to tackle ourselves, since our pet project of the last several months, Winds 2.0, made its debut earlier this month.

As we continue to iterate on Winds based on feedback from the community, now seemed like the perfect time to launch support for touch bar control on macOS, in Winds 2.1. Going into it, it seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake. However, we couldn’t have been more wrong. The API communication between macOS and Electron is far from complete. Hopefully, we’ll see some changes in the near future for better support between the macOS and Electron.

For now, we’ve come up with a decent solution to the problem that allows us to communicate bi-directionally between Electron and the macOS touch bar. To do this, we heavily relied on three major Electron components:

  1. The (limited) touch bar API that is provided by Electron
  2. The ipcMain module, which handles asynchronous and synchronous messages sent from a renderer process (web page)
  3. The ipcRenderer module, which provides a few methods that allow you to send synchronous and asynchronous messages from the renderer process (web page) to the main process (ipcMain).

In this post, we’ll do a deep dive into how we accomplished this task. Let’s do it.

The ipcMain module is an instance of the EventEmitter class. When used in the main process, it handles asynchronous and synchronous messages sent from a renderer process (web page). Messages sent from a renderer are emitted to this module and picked up by an event handler and then passed off to a function for further processing.

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