20 Replies to “Gallery of programming UIs”

  1. Impressive collection! However, I didn’t see DrawFBP , which captures much of the Flow-Based Programming (FBP) philosophy and experience. FBP has been in use, in various implementations in many different programming languages and systems, for over 40 years. See also the 5 videos on DrawFBP, listed near the end of this web page.

      1. Hi Terrence, this collection contains a large number of diagramming tools, which is why I posted a comment about DrawFBP, which is the diagramming tool supporting “classical” FBP. DrawFBP allows the designer to design an app using top-down design, associate components with nodes on the diagram, and build a running program. DrawFBP does not make any assumptions about which components you are using, as long as they conform to FBP conventions. There are a number of links to web pages and videos which you can follow if interested. HTH

    1. Hi Nick, your guide for RED programming was what I used when I recently took a tour into Red. I think the author gave you some feedback on some typos in the programs from me.

      Anyway, I was interested in Rebol until I did further research and realized that Rebol is basically Lisp functional expressions and that Lisp saw their futility as far back as the 60s and thus performed a Rebol-ectomy on Lisp:

      How good is Red/Rebol at concurrent programming? It will be an add-on and afterthought and hopefully it works out well.

      Red certainly is approachable and readable. And a welcome addition to the open source language space that Rebol was not.

  2. Props for your time investment.

    For convenience, could you also provide a .pdf variant?

    On my (old) computer, the google docs are a bit slow.

    1. Click on the gear symbol on the bottom left, then ‘Download as PDF’.

  3. Also check out the DrRacket GUI for the Racket programming language


    It has things like arrows to connect function calls to definitions, and inline-image rendering in source code.

  4. I spend a lot of time learning how a system (or its designer) wants me to think. My best thinking ever has been with Kent Beck, pair-programming in Smalltalk. I’ve reflected on this recently.


    Although its computational model was simple, we never felt limited by it since we spent our hours working with our own abstractions. Allen Wirfs-Brock described Smalltalk-80 as the pinnacle of the near exhausted line of imperative programming languages. I don’t disagree. But I do think that the language, its implementation, and our methods made a combination I’ve not seen eclipsed since.

    1. Hi Ward,

      It is amazing what can be achieved by the best people with the right attitudes and the sharpest tools. But these days I’m interested in enabling regular people without expertise to get simple shit done with computers. That’s quite a different problem.

      1. I failed to mention how much I enjoyed going through your slides and then reading further about Subtext. I know Alan Kay was disappointed that Smalltalk-80 turned Smalltalk into a programmer’s tool. Worse, there is so much accidental and even intentional complexity in modern devices which makes your challenge that much more difficult. But then, regular people are more clever than ever. I laud your intentions.

      2. I’m interested in enabling regular people without expertise to get simple shit done with computers.

        I’m interested in complex shit for programming becoming simpler for us.

        Hopefully brain surgeons dont decide to outsource their simple operations to someone else. They are trained specialists who took time to hone their craft and deserve the income and responsibilities they have earned.

        Wolfram language is a good example of making things approachable.

        And yes, automation is the future, both in hardware and software. But how is 4 years of computer science going to be simplified for someone with a high school diploma? Is that even reasonable?

  5. I feel like there should be at least one of Borland’s text-only Turbo C/C++/Pascal IDEs in there 🙂

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