Saturday, July 5, 2008

Squeak - Impressions


The more i code, the more i fall in love with Squeak and Smalltalk in general. I've properly started my gsoc project after my last exam (20 June) and i'm already addicted to the different Smalltalk tools. Iknew quite well the classic System Browser but was a little bit intimidated by the other ones.

Little by little, i've started to code in the debugger (i can imagine non smalltalkers shocked while reading this but it _really_ is an eyes opening experience) and guess what...I like it! I've learned to appreciate the refactoring, senders, hierarchy, variables and versions broswers. Most of the modern IDEs have those functionalities but Smalltalk had those for years and they are so well integrated in the environment. All those tools encourage you to explore the image. It feels like reading wikipedia: you start to look at an article about something and link after link you end up reading about the Pyongyang metro...

The only drawback is that you are quickly overwhelmed with windows popping up everywhere... especially on a 12 inches screen :)

Another common problem for beginners is the syndrom of 'Where the hell do i have to start?'. Interesting opinions can be found in the comments of a Ramon Leon's post. Now, there's a fantastic open book that everyone willing to learn Squeak/Smalltalk should read: 'Squeak By Example'.

More news about the project itself very soon!


Carl Gundel said...

You should have a look at the Hopscotch UI that Vassili Bykov has been working on for the Newspeak language (demonstrated at Smalltalk Solutions in Reno).

Read about it on Vassili's blog. He also includes a link to a paper.

Hopefully a video of his demo will be made available.

Francois Stephany said...

Thanks for the pointer Carl; very interesting paper. Hopefully we'll see it in action at ESUG 2008.

On the other hand Tamaris and WhiskerBrowser look quite convenient for browsing code... I'll give them a try.