3 releases (breaking)

0.3.0 Mar 7, 2023
0.2.0 May 24, 2022
0.1.0 May 10, 2022

#3 in #pictures

Used in 5 crates

MIT license


Contains (static library, 4KB) libwinapi_oemlicense.a, (static library, 4KB) libwinapi_oemlicense.a


Depict helps people communicate about complex systems with pictures. (demo)

Depict live demo, showing a model of a microwave

People who need to communicate about complex systems often draw pictures with boxes and arrows.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to make these drawings quickly and legibly with conventional tools. They often struggle to uncross arrows or to keep parts of their drawing from colliding, especially while editing text labels. These challenges also make the drawings hard to reuse and to maintain over time.

Depict can help:

  • concisely describe processes, systems, and concepts of operations
  • automatically draw pretty, legible, maintainable pictures
  • extract and reuse portions of previous descriptions

thereby helping you to analyze and tell powerful stories about such systems.


The simplest way to try depict is to use nix with flakes enabled to run:

nix run github:mstone/depict#desktop

This should produce a window similar to the one shown in the screenshot above.

Alternately, if you'd like to run depict without with nix, you'll need to

  1. install a recent Rust compiler, and any dependencies necessary for your platform
  2. use cargo to build or run one of Depict's sub-packages, like:
cargo run -p depict-desktop


Depict models systems as hierarchies of interacting processes expressed as partial orders. Each input line describes a chain in this order, which will be drawn as a downward-directed path with labels through this graph. Hence the input line:

person microwave food: open, start, stop / beep : heat
person food: eat


  • there is a path downward in our model from a process (controller) named person to a process named microwave to a process named food,
  • in the space between person and microwave, there are three actions, open, start, and stop, and one feedback, beep,
  • in the space between microwave and food, there is one action, heat.
  • finally, there is also a direct relationship between person and food consisting of the action: eat.


The language of depictions loosely consists of

production syntax
definitions ::= name : expr
relations ::= name name ... (: labels (/ / labels)?)
labels ::= label... for single-word labels
labels ::= label (, label)* for multi-word labels
nesting ::= [ model ]
alternatives ::= { model }


This project is licensed under the MIT license.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in Depict by you, shall be licensed as MIT, without any additional terms or conditions.


~117K SLoC