User interface continuations

, , , and . Proceedings of the 16th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, page 145--148. Vancouver, Canada, ACM Press, (2003)


Dialog boxes that collect parameters for commands often create ephemeral, unnatural interruptions of a program's normal execution flow, encouraging the user to complete the dialog box as quickly as possible in order for the program to process that command. In this paper we examine the idea of turning the act of collecting parameters from a user into a first class object called a user interface continuation. Programs can create user interface continuations by specifying what information is to be collected from the user and supplying a callback (i.e., a continuation) to be notified with the collected information. A partially completed user interface continuation can be saved as a new command, much as currying and partially evaluating a function with a set of parameters produces a new function. Furthermore, user interface continuations, like other continuation-passing paradigms, can be used to allow program execution to continue uninterrupted while the user determines a command's parameters at his or her leisure.


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