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This document describes the Iced ecosystem and explains how the different crates relate to each other.


Iced is meant to be used by 2 different types of users:

  • End-users. They should be able to:
    • get started quickly,
    • have many widgets available,
    • keep things simple,
    • and build applications that are maintainable and performant.
  • GUI toolkit developers / Ecosystem contributors. They should be able to:
    • build new kinds of widgets,
    • implement custom runtimes,
    • integrate existing runtimes in their own system (like game engines),
    • and create their own custom renderers.

Iced consists of different crates which offer different layers of abstractions for our users. This modular architecture helps us keep implementation details hidden and decoupled, which should allow us to rewrite or change strategies in the future.

The Iced Ecosystem

The foundations

There are a bunch of concepts that permeate the whole ecosystem. These concepts are considered the foundations, and they are provided by three different crates:

The foundations

The native target

The native side of the ecosystem is split into two different groups: renderers and shells.

The native target


The widgets of a graphical user interface produce some primitives that eventually need to be drawn on screen. Renderers take care of this task, potentially leveraging GPU acceleration.

Currently, there are two different official renderers:

  • iced_wgpu is powered by wgpu and supports Vulkan, DirectX 12, and Metal.
  • [tiny-skia] is used as a fallback software renderer when wgpu is not supported.

Additionally, the iced_graphics subcrate contains a bunch of backend-agnostic types that can be leveraged to build renderers. Both of the renderers rely on the graphical foundations provided by this crate.


The widgets of a graphical user interface are interactive. Shells gather and process user interactions in an event loop.

Normally, a shell will be responsible of creating a window and managing the lifecycle of a user interface, implementing a runtime of The Elm Architecture.

As of now, there is one official shell: iced_winit implements a shell runtime on top of winit.

The web target

The Web platform provides all the abstractions necessary to draw widgets and gather users interactions.

Therefore, unlike the native path, the web side of the ecosystem does not need to split renderers and shells. Instead, iced_web leverages dodrio to both render widgets and implement a proper runtime.


Finally, iced unifies everything into a simple abstraction to create cross-platform applications: