Next Generation Visual Programming System (by samuelmtimbo)

Unit Alternatives

Similar projects and alternatives to unit

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a better unit alternative or higher similarity.

unit reviews and mentions

Posts with mentions or reviews of unit. We have used some of these posts to build our list of alternatives and similar projects. The last one was on 2023-09-29.
  • Visual Node Graph with ImGui
    18 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 29 Sep 2023
    https://github.com/samuelmtimbo/unit recently, which at least uses some kind of hinted auto-layout (besides the more propriety fancy)

    I really want to see more graphical coding for years, but node/graph-based and blockly seem to be the only approaches that got sone traction so far. So I like this thread and it seems at the right place.

    I'd wish to see

  • Unit (Visual Programming System) [video]
    2 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 17 Aug 2023
    And https://unit.land for the demo
    2 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 17 Aug 2023
    Interesting, and clearly a lot of work's gone into this (60,000 lines of Typescript), particularly the UI, which is impressive (if, sometimes, over the top). I've been developing a similar system (http://www.fmjlang.co.uk/fmj/tutorials/TOC.html) and it's interesting to note the similarities and differences.

    Similarities: code as directed graphs (less obvious in FMJ); can only connect outputs to units of compatible type; if and wait (looping is handled differently); sticky values; sliders. These design decisions are practically forced on you, but are often absent in earlier visual dataflow languages (e.g. Prograph, LabVIEW).

    Differences: (1) inputs are named in Unit, ordered in FMJ (though they're named in formulas and edges can be labelled). (2) I experimented with automatic code layout but found this was too slow and not always what I wanted. Well done for getting this to work. (3) FMJ is now fully homoiconic - this maybe isn't a priority for Unit.

    The Unit design philosophy is explained in https://github.com/samuelmtimbo/unit/blob/main/src/docs/conc... . This doesn't mention earlier approaches (e.g. the Manchester Dataflow Computer, Prograph) and it seems to be based on vaguely similar ideas developed more recently (Morrison's Flow Based programming; possibly React and similar systems for web development - I'm unfamiliar with these).

    I have a number of questions:

    (1) How does the type system work? Is it Dependently typed, Hindley-Milner, or something more basic? (FMJ is Hindley-Milner, with dependent typing partially implemented). How are new types be defined?

    (2) How is the visual representation stored? One criticism I faced was that people wanted a readable textual representation which would work well with existing version control systems, a problem I have now largely solved.

    (3) How are runtime errors handled?

    (4) Is recursion supported? (I assume yes, but I didn't see any examples.) What about macros?

    (5) What does Unit compile to? (FMJ has an experimental compiler where programs are compiled by running their source without evaluating their inputs, output is Lisp.)

  • A personal history of visual programming environments (2021)
    4 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 22 Dec 2022
    I enjoyed reading this. I knew of quartz composer but I never did anything with it.

    I love visual tools and I think they are underutilized today. I cut my teeth in ~2005 with Houdini[0] and Fusion[1] which are both heavily graph / node based (and procedural).

    Most recently I have been rekindling my love for visual programming and flow based programming and plan to spend some time in January and February doing more research around flow based programming for infrastructure management.

    I plan to get this sort of info published on my website which I have neglected for half a decade or more but if you are interested in visual programming you might enjoy checking these out:

    Unit from Samuel Timbó:



    A video of me exploring what I figured out about it (while also learning to stream) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwknTfGVDq8

    Behave-Graph from Ben Houston:


    And the products I learned so long ago

    [0] Houdini https://www.sidefx.com/products/houdini/

    [1] Fusion https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/fusion

  • Ask HN: More “experimental“ UIs for editing/writing code?
    14 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 6 Aug 2022

    - A code drawn in unit is simply a Directed Graph.

    - Programming can be partially performed by Gesture and by Voice.

  • A note from our sponsor - SurveyJS
    surveyjs.io | 17 Apr 2024
    With SurveyJS form UI libraries, you can build and style forms in a fully-integrated drag & drop form builder, render them in your JS app, and store form submission data in any backend, inc. PHP, ASP.NET Core, and Node.js. Learn more →


Basic unit repo stats
12 days ago

samuelmtimbo/unit is an open source project licensed under MIT License which is an OSI approved license.

The primary programming language of unit is TypeScript.

Power Real-Time Data Analytics at Scale
Get real-time insights from all types of time series data with InfluxDB. Ingest, query, and analyze billions of data points in real-time with unbounded cardinality.