Musings on an Erlang GUI System. [long, very long] ramble... ramble ...

Eric Merritt <>
Fri Feb 14 16:00:08 CET 2003

> 1. Based on my expericence with GUI for Wings
>    (which now has dialog boxes and some windows),
>    I am convinced that Erlang is fast enough to
> create a
>    GUI toolkit (on top of a suitable low-level
> rendering
>    API such as OpenGL).

 I think so too. 

> 2. However, it is important to find a good approach
> and
>    good architecture to make the GUI fast enough.
> Having
>    one process per window could be too slow. (If
> every
>    single widget, such as a check box, is a window,
> there
>    could easily be thousands of windows.)

  Thats may be true, I guess thats where tinkering
comes in.

> 3. Implementing a GUI is incredible time consuming.
> Many
>    different kind of widgets are needed, and you'll
> need
>    ways for them to communicate, and so on.
> 4. OpenGL could be a good choice for a rendering API
>    (it is available from Erlang via ESDL/SDL.)
>    However, the only parts from SDL proper that I
> use
>    is the event handling. It could be a good idea
> write
>    a new low-level event toolkit instead of using
> SDL.
>    (It would not be that hard.)

  I was actually thinking the same thing. Really the
only thing that a low level toolkit would need to do
was capture incoming events, windowing, and updating
the screen (perhaps with the binary data itself
generated in erlang). The only draw back for me is
that  I have never done much in C so I would have to
get more proficient with that. I seem to remember
there being an open source project that could did
these basic things so I might go looking for that.

 In any case, I need to get my present project off the
ground before doing anything else.

> 5. I would not recommend borrowing code directly
> from Wings.
>    Although I have tried to have some separation of
> the Wings
>    Window System and Wings The Application, there
> are of course
>    still many dependencies. Also, I still expect to
> do a lot of
>    rewriting. Some of the ideas might be useful,
> though.
 I just put it out there as a possibility. I havn't
actually looked at any of the Wings code.

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