Musings on an Erlang GUI System.

Eric Merritt <>
Fri Feb 14 22:44:44 CET 2003

> Just take a look at the screen shots at

 Very, very, nice.
> I have had many and long mail correspondence with
> Tor -
> about this and we are trying to do *something*
> IHMO all this swing/motiv/you name stuff it is all
> *wrong*
  Yup, Yup
> I think the only decent way to define a GUI is to
> *draw* it in a page
> description language - this is *extremely*
> declarative and very easy
> to understand.

 Very easy yes, but at the cost of flexability I would

> What I'd like to see is *one* page description
> language that can be
> used for making GUIs AND pages of printed text.

 I guess I need to ask you what you mean by this.
Should displays become more static? Or are you talking
about resolution? Would you qualify your statements.
> IMHO there is *no difference* (or should be no
> difference) between
> layout on paper and layout on the screen - so I do
> not want *two*
> technologies for this but only *one* - by far the
> best technology for
> layout on paper is PDF - and for screen rendering is
> the anti-aliased
> font stuff in the freetype project.

  Surely there is some diffrence? paper is a static
medium, layouts are static, unchangable. On displays
we have the chance (though usually not taken) to have
fluid, mobile, living layouts.
> What Tor did was to make a form of "display PDF"
> which you could use
> to write a GUI.

 I do like his work.

> I'm currently thinking about the "high quality paper
> output" stuff,
> and have written quite a bit of code to do
> line-breaking, kerning etc.
> To my horror I have discovered that most commercial
> software totally
> ignores all the kerning information (ligatures) etc
> in font files -
> uses almost random font substitutions and generally
> makes a mess of
> everything.

 Not a big surprise.
> I'd very much like to see a re-unification of
> typography and GUIs
> resulting in very high quality printed output and
> beautiful GUIs with
> *one* way of describing them.

 I am not sure I like this.
> << in a few years we'll probably have electronic
> paper and then they *will*
> have merged back into one medium - the current
> dichotomy between screen and paper
> is unfortunate, and probably only temporary >>

  I hope not unless the paper pieces change a whole

> My second thoughts on a GUI are that it should be
> *entirely* based on
> message passing - like X-windows - In principle I
> want the GUI to run
> on one machine and I want the control process to run
> on another
> machine - if we wrote them like this then we could
> write wonderful
> apps - spawning of GUI's on remote machines etc. 
> great fun ...
 Thats kind of my thoughts at the moment as well.

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