Asynchronous Functional Reactive Programming for GUIs
Evan Czaplicki and Stephen Chong
Proceedings of the 34th ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI), pages 411–422, June 2013.

Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) mediate many of our interactions with computers. Functional Reactive Programming (FRP) is a promising approach to GUI design, providing high-level, declarative, compositional abstractions to describe user interactions and time-dependent computations. We present Elm, a practical FRP language focused on easy creation of responsive GUIs. Elm has two major features: simple declarative support for Asynchronous FRP; and purely functional graphical layout.

Asynchronous FRP allows the programmer to specify when the global ordering of event processing can be violated, and thus enables efficient concurrent execution of FRP programs; long-running computation can be executed asynchronously and not adversely affect the responsiveness of the user interface.

Layout in Elm is achieved using a purely functional declarative framework that makes it simple to create and combine text, images, and video into rich multimedia displays.

Together, Elm’s two major features simplify the complicated task of creating responsive and usable GUIs.