A traffic simulation game exploring how small changes to roads affect cyclists, transit users, pedestrians, and drivers

29 releases

0.2.29 Jan 31, 2021
0.2.24 Dec 27, 2020
0.2.21 Nov 30, 2020
0.2.5 Jul 26, 2020

#60 in Simulation

5,549 stars & 76 watchers

7.5K SLoC

ezgui notes

This is a GUI + 2D drawing + data viz library I've built up for A/B Street. I'm considering cleaning up the API surface and making it a proper standalone crate.

Running the demo

Example code

git clone https://github.com/dabreegster/abstreet.git
cd abstreet/ezgui
cargo run --example demo


If you want a more thorough idea of what this crate can do, see A/B Street.


Runs in lots of places

Runs on Linux, Mac, Windows via glium. Also works in the browser using WebAssembly and glow, but text support still coming in a few months.

Why OpenGL? My requirements are super simple; I don't need the power of Vulkan or other new stuff. I want something simple that runs everywhere. If you want to make this work with WGPU or something else, it should be easy. The 3 backend implementations (glium, glow on native, glow on wasm) are each about 300 lines.

2D drawing

Everything is a colored polygon. Upload stuff once, redraw many times with a simple camera transform. Panning and smooth zooming. One extremely simple shader.

Thanks to usvg and lyon, SVGs and text are transformed into colored polygons. Programatically swap colors, rotate, scale stuff. Find bounds for precise mouseover.


Widgets like buttons (with keybindings), checkboxes, sliders, pop-up menus, text entry, and some data viz things. You can combine these in Composites to dispatch event handling and drawing. Styling (background colors, outline, padding) and Flexbox-ish layouting via stretch.

The API / programming style is kind of funny; see the demo to get a sense of it. No callbacks. You manually feed events into your Composites of widgets and ask about what happened. There's no smart diffing of widget trees; most of the time it's fine to completely recreate a Composite from scratch when something changes, or replace a single widget in an existing Composite.

(This is not a performance critical library. The perf bottlenecks in A/B Street are not in the GUI, and I probably won't invest much time speeding things up here until they are. (Or if somebody else winds up using this library and hits a problem.))

Data visualization

Not exactly sure how this wound up in here too, but at some point I needed histograms and line plots that update live over time and show some info when you mouseover points, so here it is.

Big problems to solve before release

When you ask a Composite what action happened (what button was clicked), it hands you back Option<String>. Not so typesafe. How boilerplatey is it to associate buttons with a user-provided enum?

There are hardcoded colors / padding in lots of places. Need to make style easily configurable, with good defaults.

The error handling is pretty bad; lots of unwraps and panics to clean up.

Why another Rust GUI library?

When I started, nothing did what I needed, or it required awkward callbacks. Today, iced looks awesome, but wgpu doesn't work on my laptop. This is a dealbreaker -- I want to build stuff that runs ~anywhere. I looked into adding an OpenGL backend, but the current structure of iced has a huge API surface to implement for a new backend.

For the moment, I don't have enough time to get something else on-par with this library and port A/B Street over, so I'll continue to invest in this library. If there's lots of interest in other people using this library, I'll invest much more and make it a real contender.


I never wanted to call this "ezgui." :(

  • Rustwarts School of Glitchcraft and Widgetry...
  • coldbrew (stronger than iced coffee? ;) and what generally powers me )
  • allegro (where most pivotal meetings with my UX designer have happened, but this is also the name of some library)
  • coco (for the geom library)
  • abstgui (too obvious)

Future work

  • Draggable panels


~248K SLoC