Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Continuations as UI elements
started 6/4/2003; 1:11:43 PM - last post 6/5/2003; 6:47:39 AM
Kimberley Burchett - Continuations as UI elements  blueArrow
6/4/2003; 1:11:43 PM (reads: 394, responses: 2)
Haystack is a "universal information client" -- a program for integrating all the data that typical users work with (email, websites, rss feeds, etc). It has an interesting feature that may be of interest to LtU readers: it supports "UI continuations" (look about halfway down the page). Visually, these things look like dialogs with a button that the user can click to complete the operation. Functionally, they're first class objects that can be bookmarked for completion later, or even executed multiple times.

This is similar to using continuations to simplify web programming, but it seems like a different enough application to be worth mentioning.

This, combined with Naked Objects, makes me wonder whether users might one day work directly with concepts that are currently exclusively the domain of programmers. Perhaps application programming as we currently know it will one day be viewed as excessively primitive and timid ("Let the user work with data directly? But they'll mess it up!").

Or from a different perspective, maybe theoretical computer science is really the art of discovering useful user interface idioms. Who wants to guess what the UI equivalent of a monad is? ;)

water - Re: Continuations as UI elements  blueArrow
6/4/2003; 6:49:44 PM (reads: 397, responses: 0)

Conditions, as in Common Lisp or in Dylan more appropriately, would make another suitable addition, and are related to continuations, since the restarts are often parametrizable analogues of continuations (yes, you can implement them with that metaphor in mind).

Also your remark about relating them to Naked Objects is interesting, since there are graphical interface toolkits which support this notion in possibly a more interesting way, such as with CLIM's presentation types, or Squeak's Morph user interface concept to a lesser extent. So I would say that a presentation of a condition and its restarts would allow for some more directness, as long as one were willing to work within the presentation kind of framework.

This is not very obvious from these sources, but this is something I am working on and intend to demonstrate within my Slate environment.

Manuel Simoni - Re: Continuations as UI elements  blueArrow
6/5/2003; 6:47:39 AM (reads: 388, responses: 0)
There's a paper on User Interface Continuations by two people from the Haystack project.