is a form and data management platform for progressive web applications. It provides a structural approach to build and communicate with a front-end client interface that runs in the browser, and a back-end running on a server.

Simian GUI uses the front-end part of to build a user interface and interact with a back-end running on the Matlab Production Server or WSGI applications.


HTML forms are the common way to collect user input on a webpage. The framework builds upon this technology with its own JSON format for defining forms and to communicate data with the server. In turn, Simian GUI uses this format to bring the user input into a MATLAB or Python application.

To gain insight into the capabilities of Simian GUI, you can use the online form builder. It illustrates how forms can be constructed and what components and properties are available. This builder will not be used for the actual implementation of your application or tool and its behavior may differ. When you drag components from the left onto the form and change some of their properties, you can see the resulting interactive form at the bottom of the page. The definition of the form in JSON format is shown on the right. Below the form, you can see the submission data that will be sent to the back-end when an event is triggered (for example the push of a button), also in JSON format.

In MATLAB/Python, you write code to define the form (See Form definition). The resulting form definition is an object tree that will be converted to JSON for you. The submission data received from the front-end is converted from JSON into a struct/dict that is more easy to navigate and change. What the form builder does not show is that the submission data of the form can be updated by the back-end as well to perform certain actions such as filling a component with data or hiding/showing a component.