Musings on an Erlang GUI System.

Eric Merritt <>
Sat Feb 15 18:50:18 CET 2003


> I don't understand - why should a declarative page
> description language
> not be flexible - if it has a good design it will be
> *very* flexible,
> if it has a bad design it will not be flexible.

  True, True, I guess I am just thinking of some of
the poor ones I have seen in the past.
 
> 
> I mean what I say - both screens and paper are two
> dimensional
> media - I want one language to describe what I see
> on paper and 
> the same langauge to describe what I see on the
> screen.


  I guess if the paper can be non-static the display
medium is really a non issue. However, when I think of
paper I don't think of a thing that can do this
->http://textarc.org/ or any number of other
interesting new things that seem to be coming up. In
mine and, I dare say, most peoples minds paper is just
a linear list of characters and graphics. We have
taken this concept and applied it to our interfaces.
This I think has to a large extent been a mistake. We
have the power to do so much more with computers and
we simply do not. Perhaps the only exception to this
is games. Almost ever other application interface
mimicks a paper precursor. 

 Word Processors -> Standard Paper
 SpreadSheet -> Accouting Ledger
 Any number of data entry pieces -> Simple forms.

In general we have been automating things we used to
do with paper but we haven't done anything new or
diffrent really. I think the current group of games
are so much diffrent simply becuase there was no paper
precursor. 
 
> I'm not taking about whether or not what I can see
> is static
> or dynamic, I'm talking about how I describe what I
> see.

  Ok, I can accept this.
 
> I think that pretty soon electronic paper wil be
> with us
> see
>
http://www.prism.washington.edu/lc/CLWEBCLB/electpaper.html
> 
> Gyricon is already selling 100 dpi SmartPaper (TM)
> and I guess it won't
> be long before we can buy the stuff in the shops.

 
  There are a few others, like www.e-ink.com (I have
been watching this since it was a research project).
It is very promising.


> >  I am not sure I like this.
> 
>    What didn't you like? - the bit about them being
> beautiful - or the
> bit about there being one way to describe things?


 See my earlier qualms about emulating paper.
 
> 
> Paper *will* change - do we have to destroy all our
> forests
> to get a dayly newspaper that we read and then throw
> away?
> 
> Roll-on the newspaper on epaper that just changes
> it's content
> every day ...
> 

 I think this is a good thing as well.


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