Monthly Downloads: 243
Programming language: Elixir
License: Apache License 2.0
Tags: GUI    
Latest version: v0.10.5
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Core Scenic Library

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Scenic is a client application library written directly on the Elixir/Erlang/OTP stack. With it you can build applications that operate identically across all supported operating systems, including MacOS, Ubuntu, Nerves/Linux, and more.

Scenic is primarily aimed at fixed screen connected devices (IoT), but can also be used to build portable applications.

See the getting started guide and the online documentation for more information. Other resources available are:

  • Introducing Scenic, a video from ElixirConf 2018, which introduces Scenic and the problems it strives to solve.


  • Available: Scenic takes full advantage of OTP supervision trees to create applications that are fault-tolerant, self-healing, and highly available under adverse conditions.

  • Small and Fast: The only core dependencies are Erlang/OTP and OpenGL.

  • Self Contained: "Never trust a device if you don't know where it keeps its brain." The logic to run a device should be on the device and it should remain operational even if the service it talks to becomes unavailable.

  • Maintainable: Each device knows how to run itself. This lets teams focus on new products and only updating the old ones as the business needs.

  • Remotable: Scenic devices know how to run themselves, but can still be accessed remotely. Remote traffic attempts to be as small so it can be used over the Internet, cellular modems, Bluetooth, etc.

  • Reusable: Collections of UI can be packaged up for reuse with, and across applications. I expect to see Hex packages of controls, graphs, and more available for Scenic applications.

  • Flexible: Scenic uses matrices similar to game development to position everything. This makes reuse, scale, positioning and more very flexible and simple.

  • Secure: Scenic is designed with an eye towards security. For now, the main effort is to keep it simple. No browser, Javascript, and other complexity presenting vulnerabilities. There will be much more to say about security later.


  • Browser: Scenic is not a web browser. It is aimed at a fixed screen devices and certain types of windowed apps. It knows nothing about HTML.

  • 3D: Scenic is a 2D UI framework. It uses techniques from game development (such as transform matrices), but it does not support 3D drawing at this time.

  • Immediate Mode: In graphics speak, Scenic is a retained mode system. If you need immediate mode, then Scenic isn't for you. If you don't know what retained and immediate modes are, then you are probably just fine. For reference: HTML is a retained mode model.

Upgrading to v0.10

Version 0.10 of Scenic contains both deprecations and breaking changes, which will need to be updated in your app in order to run. This is all good through as it enables goodness in the forms of proper font metrics and dynamic raw pixel textures.

Please see the v0.10 Upgrade Guide.


push_graph/1 is deprecated in favor of returning {:push, graph} (keyword) options from the Scenic.Scene callbacks. Since this is only a deprecation push_graph/1 will continue to work, but will log a warning when used.

push_graph/1 will be removed in a future release.

  • This allows us to utilize the full suite of OTP GenServer callback behaviors (such as timeout and handle_continue)
  • Replacing the call of push_graph(graph) within a callback function depends slightly on the context in which it is used.
  • in init/2:
    • {:ok, state, [push: graph]}
  • in filter_event/3:
    • {:halt, state, [push: graph]}
    • {:cont, event, state, [push: graph]}
  • in handle_cast/2:
    • {:noreply, state, [push: graph]}
  • in handle_info/2:
    • {:noreply, state, [push: graph]}
  • in handle_call/3:
    • {:reply, reply, state, [push: graph]}
    • {:noreply, state, [push: graph]}
  • in handle_continue/3:
    • {:noreply, state, [push: graph]}

Breaking Changes

Scenic.Cache has been removed. It has been replaced by asset specific caches.

Asset Class Module
Fonts Scenic.Cache.Static.Font
Font Metrics Scenic.Cache.Static.FontMetrics
Textures (images in a fill) Scenic.Cache.Static.Texture
Raw Pixel Maps Scenic.Cache.Dynamic.Texture

Some of the Cache support modules have moved

Old Module New Module
Scenic.Cache.Hash Scenic.Cache.Support.Hash
Scenic.Cache.File Scenic.Cache.Support.File
Scenic.Cache.Supervisor Scenic.Cache.Support.Supervisor
Static vs. Dynamic Caches

Note that caches are marked as either static or dynamic. Things that do not change and can be referred to by a hash of their content go into Static caches. This allows for future optimizations, such as caching these assets on a CDN.

The Dynamic.Texture cache is for images that change over time. For example, this could be an image coming off of a camera, or something that you generate directly in your own code. Note that Dynamic caches are more expensive overall as they will not get the same level of optimization in the future.

Custom Fonts

If you have used custom fonts in your application, you need to use a new process to get them to load and render.

  1. use the truetype_metrics tool in hex to generate a \*.metrics file for your custom font. This will live in the same folder as your font.
  2. Make sure the name of the font file itself ends with the hash of its content. If you use the -d option in truetype_metrics, then that will be done for you.
  3. Load the font metrics file into the Scenic.Cache.Static.FontMetrics cache. The hash of this file is the hash that you will use to refer to the font in the graphs.
  4. Load the font itself into the Scenic.Cache.Static.Font


We appreciate any contribution to Scenic.

However, please understand that Scenic is still fairly new and as such, we'll be keeping an extra-close eye on changes.

Check the [Code of Conduct](.github/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md) and [Contributing Guides](.github/CONTRIBUTING.md) for more information. We usually keep a list of features and bugs in the issue tracker.

The easiest way to contribute is to help fill out the documentation. Please see the [Contributing Guides](.github/CONTRIBUTING.md) first.