HIDDevices 4.0.2

dotnet add package HIDDevices --version 4.0.2
NuGet\Install-Package HIDDevices -Version 4.0.2
This command is intended to be used within the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio, as it uses the NuGet module's version of Install-Package.
<PackageReference Include="HIDDevices" Version="4.0.2" />
For projects that support PackageReference, copy this XML node into the project file to reference the package.
paket add HIDDevices --version 4.0.2
#r "nuget: HIDDevices, 4.0.2"
#r directive can be used in F# Interactive and Polyglot Notebooks. Copy this into the interactive tool or source code of the script to reference the package.
// Install HIDDevices as a Cake Addin
#addin nuget:?package=HIDDevices&version=4.0.2

// Install HIDDevices as a Cake Tool
#tool nuget:?package=HIDDevices&version=4.0.2

Publish Nuget

Description

This library provides a cross-platform service for asynchronously accessing HID devices, such as Gamepads, Joysticks, Multi-axis controllers, and programmable button pads. It supports Plug & Play, correctly identifying when controllers are added and removed, and Reactive frameworks. It also allows the creation of custom Controller implementations, which are matched automatically against devices for easy use.

Important Notes

  • The project is based on HIDSharp but deliberately does not expose any of its API explicitly, as I may replace it in a future version.
  • Although the project isn't actively maintained, I occasionally refresh the usage tables and respond to issues if you raise them in the issue tracker.
  • As the Usages and UsagePages are auto-generated they can change between versions whenever the USB HID Usage Tables are updated. This can cause breaking changes in your code, so be careful when updating versions of the NuGet. In particular, any time the HID tables are updated, I will update the minor version number (at least). Notable changes include from 2.0-2.1 when many of the 1-indexed usages were changed to 0-indexed, e.g. ButtonPage.Button1 became ButtonPage.Button0; and when moving from version 2 to version 3, when I changed the code generation algorithm and the source of truth was changed to directly reference the published PDF specification (see #6).
  • The XInput-compatible HID device driver only transmits events from the HID device whilst the current process has a focussed window, so console applications/background services don't appear to work! This is not a bug in this library, although I have been unable to find where this 'feature' is documented. It affects the "Microsoft XBox One for Windows Controller".
  • When changing from version 3.x to version 4.0, the Usages and UsagePages were split into their own NuGet, see "Migrating to Version 4" for the justification and an explanation of breaking changes.

Installation

The library is available via NuGet and is delivered via NuGet Package Manager:

Install-Package HIDDevices

If you are targeting .NET Core, use the following command:

dotnet add package HIDDevices

Installing the HIDDevices.Usages NuGet is also highly recommended.

Usage

The sample program demonstrates using the library in various scenarios.

The HID Tables

The library accepts usage identifiers as a raw uint, however that is prone to error. As such, it was designed to work alongside the HIDDevices.Usages Nuget which encodes the USB HID Usage Tables into enumerations and types that can be implicitly converted to the raw uint identifier. These types encode a lot of information and can add ~400kb to your deployed code size, so may not be suitable for all projects. Using the raw uint identifier is always an option, especially when using with a non-standard device.

Devices

Initialisation

To start monitoring controllers, add the following code:

using var devices = new Devices();

Note This instantiates a new instance of the Devices class, which immediately starts listening for new HID devices. In practice, you should only ever create one of these. The Devices class implements IDisposable for asynchronous disposal, which cleans up all listeners.

Alternatively, the library is fully compatible with Dependency injection frameworks. Register the service as a Singleton (so only one instance is created) using code similar to:

services.AddSingleton<Devices>();
...
var devices = serviceProvider.GetService<Devices>();

Modern DI frameworks should correctly handle instantiation and disposal automatically and supply a logger if registered.

Logging

The Devices constructor accepts an ILogger<Devices> for logging, most often supplied via dependency injection, but you can find an example of a simple logger in the samples - SimpleConsoleLogger.

Detecting changes in devices

The Devices service implements an IObservableCache<Device, string> property, which publishes add/update/remove events for devices. For more information on IObservableCache<,> and how to consume them, see DynamicData. e.g.

using var subscription = devices.Connect().Subscribe(changeSet => { ... });

The standard Connect() method retrieves an observable collection of all devices but does not attempt to connect to them, which is useful when you only want to see what is known to the Operating System. However, you can also use the Connected() extension method, which does attempt to establish a working connection to the devices, and only includes devices that are currently connected (whilst they remain connected). It is a subset of the observable collection returned by Connect().

A disconnected device is connected to the system, but the library can not establish a connection to it. For example, Windows prevents access to Keyboard and Mouse devices, but they are still listed. Devices that are physically disconnected (and hence not seen by the Operating System) are absent from both collections.

Both methods accept a predicate that you can use to efficiently filter devices only to include those you are interested in, for example:

using var subscription = 
    devices.Connected(
      device => device.UsagesAll(GenericDesktopPage.GamePad &&
                device.ControlUsagesAll(GenericDesktopPage.X, GenericDesktopPage.Y))
    .Subscribe()

This uses the UsagesAll extension method to filter devices that don't implement the GamePad usage and the ControlUsagesAll extension method to only select devices that have controls that implement all the specified usages (i.e. must have an X and Y axis - which, according to the HID specs, all GamePads are supposed to expose, but there's no guarantee). There are also UsagesAny and ControlUsagesAny extension methods and DeviceUsages* and ControlUsages* extension methods that you can apply to Devices directly (and are equivalent to calling Connect(...) with the appropriate delegate).

Supplying a delegate to filter the Connected() extension method is recommended to prevent unnecessary connection attempts to devices you are not interested in.

Connecting to a device

Each Device class implements IObservable<IList<ControlChange>>, which you can use to observe changes in control values. A connection to the device is only established when there is at least one subscriber to this interface. There is also an IObservable<bool> ConnectionState property that changes value when the device connects/disconnects; subscribing to the ConnectionState will also ensure a subscription to the main observable - attempting a connection. To see the current connection state, you can use the IsConnected property, which returns the instantaneous value but doesn't attempt a connection. Using the Connected() extension method on the Devices collection will also ensure a subscription and connection attempt.

Detecting changes in controls

As mentioned above, the Device object implements IObservable<IList<ControlChange>>, which returns batches of changes reported by a device when subscribed to. Device also implements IReadOnlyDictionary<Control, ControlChange>, which you can use to find the last observed state of the Device's controls - however this doesn't establish a connection itself, so you should first connect by subscribing to the Device. A control's value is always mapped to a value between 0 and 1, or double.NaN to indicate null. You can look for control changes across all devices using the ControlChanges extension method for convenience. e.g.

using var subscription2 = devices
    // Watch for control changes only
    .ControlChanges()
    .Subscribe(changes =>
    {
        ...
    });

A ControlChange indicates the changed Control, the PreviousValue and the new Value. It also shows how stale the change is by having Timestamp and the associated Elapsed properties.

Note: HID devices are not required to report their initial state on connection and frequently do not. It is typical for the device only to report its entire state the first time it communicates (e.g. on a button press); as such, the ControlChange retrieved for a given Control may be a default struct until such a time as an update is received. In such a case the Timestamp property will be 0 (and the Elapsed will be Timeout.InfiniteTimeSpan).

Controllers

To make devices simpler to consume, the library contains a Controller concept, effectively a device definition. These are easy to define using attributes. See Gamepad for a complete example, however, this uses raw identifiers for the usages due to the decision to not force inclusion of the usage tables. In your own code you can use the corresponding encoded types, as we do below.

To create a new Controller definition, extend the Controller class and add zero or more DeviceAttribute attributes optionally. The specified DeviceAttributes must be satisfied for a Device to match the controller. DeviceAttribute s can specify multiple Usages, all of which must match, or you can use multiple DeviceAttributes to provide alternatives. They can also filter by Product ID or Version, for example:

// The following controller will match devices that have either the GamePad
// or the Joystick Usage (if the Joystick has a ReleaseNumber starting with '1.').
[Device(GenericDesktopPage.GamePad)]
[Device(GenericDesktopPage.Joystick, ReleaseNumberRegex = "1\\..*")]
public class Joystick : Controller { ... }

Similarly, you can then indicate properties that you wish to bind to a Device's Control using the ControlAttribute. Again, multiple usages on the same attribute must all match, but you can specify multiple attributes per property. Where multiple attributes are selected, you can define a weighting to indicate a preference during the matching process (see example below).

If a RequiredAttribute is placed on a Control Property, then a device that does not supply such a property will not be matched to the controller.

Finally, you can automatically convert a property's type using TypeConverters by specifying a TypeConverterAttribute.

// The following example indicates a required control matching the 'GenericDesktopPage.X'.
// It also converts the normal 0->1 range of values to -1->1 using the 'SignedConverter'.
[Control(GenericDesktopPage.X)]
[Required]
[TypeConverter(typeof(SignedConverter))]
public double X => GetValue<double>();

// The following example matches controls with the 'GenericDesktopPage.Select' in preference
// to those with 'ButtonPage.Button6', a match is not required.
// A default converter is registered for booleans already, which returns false for values < 0.5.
[Control(GenericDesktopPage.Select, Weight = 2)]
[Control(ButtonPage.Button6)]
public bool Select => GetValue<bool>();

To register a default type converter for control properties, use Controller.RegisterDefaultTypeConverter, e.g.

// Note this registration occurs by default, but you can override it with a custom default converter.
Controller.RegisterDefaultTypeConverter(typeof(bool), BooleanConverter.Instance);

Once a device matches a controller, it exposes the latest values of the controller via easily accessed properties. You can also observe changes via the Changes property. To listen for specific controllers from Devices use the Controllers<TController> extension method, e.g.

// Holds a reference to the current gamepad, which is set asynchronously as they are detected.
Gamepad? gamepad = null;
var batch = 0;

// Subscribe to any gamepads as they are found
using var subscription = devices.Controllers<Gamepad>().Subscribe(g =>
{
    // If we already have a connected gamepad, ignore any more.
    // ReSharper disable once AccessToDisposedClosure
    if (gamepad?.IsConnected == true)
    {
        return;
    }

    // Assign this gamepad and connect to it.
    gamepad = g;
    g.Connect();
});

As demonstrated, a Controller doesn't start listening for changes until you call the Connect() method on it.

Migrating to Version 4

Until Version 4, the HIDDevices.Usages NuGet was not separate from the HIDDevices NuGet. This had the advantage of much closer integration, however I decided to split the two for the following reasons:

  1. The encoded tables are of use on their own in projects where the HIDDevices paradigm is not of interest.
  2. The encoded tables take up a lot of code space, and may not be suitable for embedded projects, etc.

Although some features were removed due to the loose coupling, there is always a workaround available, largely due to the ease of converting between the raw uint identifiers and the encoded types.

More specifically, the following changes were needed to separate the code bases:

  • The Gamepad controller now specifies the raw usage identifiers - this should be seamless to consumers of the class.
  • The Device and Control classes Usages property is now of type IReadOnlyCollection<uint>. These raw identifiers can easily be cast to the Usage type to get further information.
  • The Control class no longer exposes Name, FullName, or ButtonNumber properties; and, as a result, ToString() will no longer return a friendly name.

To support with migration, the following static methods have been added to the Usage type:

  • Usage.GetName(...) now accepts one or more raw usage identifiers and returns one or more names (using the Name instance property).
  • Usage.GetFullName(...) now accepts one or more raw usage identifiers and returns one or more full names (using the FullName instance property)..
  • Usage.GetButtonNumber(...) now accepts one or more raw usage identifiers and returns the first button number, if any ( using the ButtonNumber instance property)..

TODO

  • More documentation, examples
  • Support Output to devices
  • More Tests!
  • Automate NuGet Release notes
  • Automate code regeneration from GitHub Action.

Testing status

The following controllers have been tested:

  • Saitek X-52 Pro Flight Control System,
  • Saitek Pro Flight X-56 Rhino Stick,
  • Saitek Pro Flight X-56 Rhino Throttle,
  • Razer Sabertooth Elite
  • Microsoft XBox One for Windows Controller (Note that XInput-compatible HID device driver only transmits events from the HID device whilst the current process has a focussed window, so console applications/background services don't appear to work! That is not usually an issue for games with a focused window, but it does affect the sample application. This is not a bug in this library.)

I have also tested the following OS's:

  • Windows 10 Pro 2004 (19041.330)
  • Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (10.0.22000.194)
  • Ubuntu (limited testing so far)

Please let me know if you've confirmed it as working with other devices/OSs by raising an issue.

Acknowledgements

Product Compatible and additional computed target framework versions.
.NET net5.0 was computed.  net5.0-windows was computed.  net6.0 was computed.  net6.0-android was computed.  net6.0-ios was computed.  net6.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net6.0-macos was computed.  net6.0-tvos was computed.  net6.0-windows was computed.  net7.0 was computed.  net7.0-android was computed.  net7.0-ios was computed.  net7.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net7.0-macos was computed.  net7.0-tvos was computed.  net7.0-windows was computed.  net8.0 was computed.  net8.0-android was computed.  net8.0-browser was computed.  net8.0-ios was computed.  net8.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net8.0-macos was computed.  net8.0-tvos was computed.  net8.0-windows was computed. 
.NET Core netcoreapp3.0 was computed.  netcoreapp3.1 was computed. 
.NET Standard netstandard2.1 is compatible. 
MonoAndroid monoandroid was computed. 
MonoMac monomac was computed. 
MonoTouch monotouch was computed. 
Tizen tizen60 was computed. 
Xamarin.iOS xamarinios was computed. 
Xamarin.Mac xamarinmac was computed. 
Xamarin.TVOS xamarintvos was computed. 
Xamarin.WatchOS xamarinwatchos was computed. 
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Version Downloads Last updated
4.0.2 740 2/25/2024
3.1.1 235 2/20/2024
3.0.2 194 2/20/2024
3.0.1 12,553 8/17/2022
2.3.1 881 8/9/2022
2.2.3 2,051 5/24/2022
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2.1.12 922 10/14/2021
2.0.1 1,146 11/16/2020
1.2.11 250 10/19/2020
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1.1.2 1,013 7/18/2020

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