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Notes on Structured Editors

Blog 2019/3/9

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Notes on Structured Editors


To the googles

Terms to search for:

  • structured editor
  • semantic editor / editing
  • direct manipulation


"StructuredEditors" tag on by Kirill Osenkov

"Gallery of programming UIs" Jonathan Edwards

"Inspiring a future clojure editor with forgotten lisp UX" Shaun Lebron

From the folks at

"Deuce: A Lightweight UI for Structured Editing"


"Structured editing for Elm in Elm"

"SVG Progrmming by direct manipulation of intermediates"

more links to follow-up on, mentioned in the above: Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 1 04 39 AM

Unisonweb work on semantic editors

Papers / Theses

"The ABC structure editor" Lambert Meertens, Steven Pemberton, Guido Van Rossum

"Designing, implementing and integrating a structured C# code editor" Kirill Osenkov

"Improving usability of refactoring tools" Emerson Murphy-Hill

"Breaking the barriers to successful refactoring" Emerson Murphy-Hill, Andrew Black

"Drag-and-drop refactoring: intuitive program transformation" Yun Young Lee, Nicholas Chen, Ralph Johnson

"Speaking for the trees: a new (old) approach to languages and syntax" Moss Prescott

Related iOS apps



Implementation resources

"Retained mode vs immediate mode"

OpenGL / Immediate-mode GUI toolkits

Dear ImGui (Immediate mode)


Retained mode GUI toolkits

Qt (QPainter, QPixmap, etc)

Rendering libraries


for HTML5 Canvas



Shameless plug

I'm hacking on my own structured editor!

twitter thread

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