[Newbies] Raw beginner asks.....

Charles D Hixson charleshixsn at earthlink.net
Wed May 10 19:31:44 UTC 2006

Jeffrey Haun wrote:
> I'm just starting out in Squeak and having a hard time
> of it. For one thing, I have a little experience with
> other programming languages, but I can't make the
> connection to squeak. I don't know where to start and
> most book I have seen are not for the absolute Squeak
> beginner. I have the "bots" book, but that seem more
> like a version of LOGO. How do you write program in
> this environment??
> Help
> Jeff
Warning:  This *is* a reply from a raw beginner.
I've looked at all the books on the free-books page (most were in my
library from several years ago).  So far I've only found 3 that were, to
me, useful.
1) On To Smalltalk by Patrick Henry Winston
This is a very primitive book on Smalltalk, but it does cover necessary
material.  It lead to my being able to figure out files.
2) Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns by Kent Beck
I just used this to figure out how to initialize a class.
3) The Design Patterns Smalltalk Companion by Alpert, Brown, and Woolf
To be honest, I haven't really dug into this one yet, but only skimmed
it.  It looks like it's very good, though.
N.B.:  This book is keyed against the Gang of Four book, Design
Patterns.  If you didn't like that book, you may well not like this one.

The "tutorials" seem to be directed at the wrong level of person.  They
are too complicated for someone who's never programmed before, but they
are to simplistic for someone who has another language or two under
their belt.  That said, I found the first few chapters of
http://www.dmu.com/croquet/ to be quite useful in getting started. 
True, this is a Croquet tutorial, but the basic programming is Squeak
(and, of course, below that Smalltalk).
N.B.:  This is an "unofficial" tutorial.  I haven't really checked out
the official one yet, since it's all in one huge pdf.  Besides, I want
the places where they overlap, not where they differ.

If you don't have much experience with other programming languages, and
are very interested in graphic, you might look at the two Squeak books
by Guzdial.  As is common they are a bit elderly, but they do offer the
basics and graphic programming works better now than it did when the
books were first written.  Unfortunately, graphic programming isn't
"round-trip", i.e., if you make any changes in text mode, you can't ever
go back to graphic without losing them.  So I find it unsatisfactory
even as a place to start.

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