GUIs - ruby on rails, rico

Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB) joe.armstrong@REDACTED
Mon Sep 19 11:21:42 CEST 2005

It seems like my quest for a GUI is almost over.

Klacke had pointed me at XMLHTTP but I just didn't get it (dumbo) -

Then I hacked a bit and - WOW. Firstly XMLHTTP is nothing about XML - it's just allows
a light weight RPC to made from within a web page. So you connect a bit
of JavaScript to an event - this JavaScript RPCs a server, the server replies with
a string that the JavaScript interprets (any old string - not necessarily XML)
and the JavaScript modifies the web page.

The last bit (the JavaScript modifies the web page) is the tricky bit - to
do this you need to use the DOM - which is (uuugh) painful.

Fortunately there are libraries to do this - ruby on rails uses prototype.js to do this And Tobbe has written a library (jungerl/lib/js) to take to prototype.js

Also of interest is rico (especially their innerHTML
demo) (see

As far as I can see one could make a pretty snazzy GUI in a web brower with

	- a local HTTP server (yaws)
	- XMLHTTP and
	- rico or prototype.js

Also in the pipeline is an HTML extension <canvas> which has made it to 
safari and mozilla - this is looking good.

What would be even nicer would be a port of the konfabulator to linux - since this (I think) would solve all my GUI problems.

This technology is about to explode - so yaws should be well placed - 
this means that servers are going to be handling a lot of lightweight RPCs

So go hack


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