Quickstart learning envs (e.g. ellie) - current favorites?

I’m curious about what people are using currently when they want a minimal fuss learning environment for people building up their elm core syntax and library skills that only needs a browser?

  • ellie
  • codespace/gitpod w/elm essentials installed
  • something else…

Ellie is my go-to for exploring a new library. I haven’t tried the others, so I can’t compare, but I have always been happy with Ellie for this use case.

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I’ve onboarded several engineers with Elm to date and haven’t tried to shield them from the stock Elm development setup I use. It is quite easy to get a simple elm app in place for experimentation and learning.

I use:

  1. VS Code with the Elm Tooling VS Code extension
  2. Vite with the vite-plugin-elm extension
  3. Tailwind for CSS with the elm-default-tailwind-modules package
  4. Other misc Elm tools like elm-format, etc. (see gist below)

I have posted a gist that outlines my basic elm project setup for onboarding new engineers or simply starting up a new app. This just assumes that VS Code and the Elm Tooling VS Code extension are installed.

Note that the Msg variant called NoOp String is for helping the engineer see application interactions. Wherever an “onclick” event is used, you can use a NoOp <my_onlcick_button_name> msg instead of a custom Msg variant to trace the clicks in the Elm debugger because the String payload shows up nicely in the debugger.

Hope that helps!


In my context, it’s with coworkers who have our monorepo installed and all the elm tooling installed, but I want something separate and low interference with their regular development environment, to go through short exercises like:

implementThisFunction : Int -> Bool
implementThisFunction = Debug.todo "nyi"

and iterate quickly… something slightly faster and simpler than exercism.

I’ve started with ellie and then I will upgrade to codespace later.

Ah… Makes sense. Yes, Elle is a great way to start. I’ve not tried codespace. Will have to take a look at it. :slight_smile:

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