Update on getting VT100 in a web page

Last night, I worked really late but I made really good progress on getting a VT100 terminal to run inside a web page. The goal is to allow an administrator to access a Linux or Windows command prompt on a remote computer from anywhere in the world and do so, right from the web site.

Well, the entire thing is tricky. I used an HTML5 canvas element as a drawing surface. Used JavaScript long lived HTML polling calls (AJAX) to stream the data and a new dedicated C# service to get handle the HTTP calls. I then had to hook up the AJAX server to the back-end system and, additionally, perform an SSL operations on behalf of the user, signal and route the traffic over the mesh and decode the protocol.

Last night it all came together for the first time and I got a Linux command prompt right on the web page. So far, it's also fast and very usable. In fact, I can't tell from the speed alone that it's not a normal terminal like Telnet or Putty. Below is a screen shot of what the terminal looks like when it started working for the first time... oh and it crashed 10 seconds after I took this screen, but later fixed that.

As you can see from the screen, the JavaScript can't handle VT100 escape codes yet. So clear screen code is just being displayed as text. Today and tomorrow I hope to port all my C# escape handling over to JavaScript and get that working. I also have security related work and a lot more cleaning up to do.

For anyone using MeshCentral, the terminal feature is available on the web site, but it's not activated yet. Hold on, as soon as I get things working, I will update the service and you can start using it.

I am so happy about this, I could hardly sleep last night. This is such a fun project.


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