[Newbies] Newbie assortment

Sven Schott sven.schott at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 10:58:23 UTC 2008

I've recently become a Squeak lurker (that means I've downloaded the VM,
several books, tutorials and done some basic tests but haven't taken the
plunge...yet). I'm a Ruby user (not programmer) and I recently was
introduced to Squeak via Croquet (It looked interesting). I was pretty wowed
by Squeak (can you say 'Introspective Dynamic Objects Playground'?) but
after some research I've come up with some questions:

1) I have to be honest here: is it alive? I have been to the website
(seaside and squeak both have good sites by my standards) but apart from a
few (good) projects I'm not seeing a hell of a lot from Squeak as a whole
(see Q.3). I'm not abandoning Ruby (I love Ruby for many reasons) but I
intend to really get into Smalltalk. I just want to know if the ship is
sinking (or just temporarily stalled) before I board.

2) Can Squeak be used as the engine in enterprise with and without Seaside?
What I mean is, can the VM run headless (is there such a status), as a
service or in some fashion that does not require an account to be logged in?
Forgive my ignorance, but I know very little about Squeak in terms of its
capabilities. If my question is not relevant, how then is Squeak deployed in
enterprise environments? I guess what I'm asking is the following: I
currently deploy IT apps using Apache(serve static content and redirect
dynamic pages), Mongrel/Rails/Ruby (Application service)) on Linux/OS X. Can
I do the same with Squeak/Seaside? I've seen enterprise apps with Seaside
but they may be on other Smalltalk VM/engines.

3) Is the community small? Big? Growing? Shrinking rapidly? What sites do
people hang out at? I joined the list to see more of the community but I'd
like to know the regular watering holes.

4) Is there any push or drive to making Squeak more mainstream. Well,
mainstream is probably the wrong word. I just think that this thing is Gold.
Really. Seriously. When I started using Ruby I thought 'Why aren't more
people using this?'. That happened to be just a matter of time. But Squeak
(and indeed smalltalk) has been around for a while. Why hasn't it shot up
like a rocket? Is it because it IS viewed as a toy? I must admit that I did
not think much of Squeak because I saw a screenshot of some toy-looking
things on a screen and didn't think it could do anything serious (boy, was I
wrong). Does it need marketing? More focus on business objects (I have fancy
ideas about that but...) so that users and developers turn their heads? I
don't know but maybe you do. Does it just need a killer app or killer
promoter? Ruby was slowly gaining attention but Rails shoved it forward. I
think Seaside has a lot more potential than Rails because it is sooooo cool.
But is that just a Smalltalk thing? Will it just go the way of the dodo
because the market decided that .NET was so good (it sucks. so. bad)? I'd
hate to see that. At the moment, we use Microsoft Sharepoint for our
document storage and I cannot express how absolutely crap that product is. I
could write something better with Rails and I ain't a programmer(I can only
imagine what could be done with Seaside). My place of employ uses it because
we buy Microsoft. The. Worst. Reason. Ever. I know everyone does it. But
it's @#$%*& wrong! I got my Rails apps in the door because I showed them I
could write an app in a month that they didn't even think they could do.
Maybe Squeak just needs a loud voice. I dunno.

Anyhoo, I have more questions but I think I just wanted some opinions on
these for the moment.


Sven Schott

P.S. Any Squeakers in Australia?
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