[Newbies] Totally dumbfounded!!

Rob Rothwell r.j.rothwell at gmail.com
Sat Jul 5 14:41:31 UTC 2008

On Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 7:11 AM, Herbert König <herbertkoenig at gmx.net> wrote:

Hello everyone; this is just getting too interesting.  It is like the
classical Zen path to Enlightnment:

"How long will it take me?"

"10 years."

"No, I mean if I really try?"

"20 years."

"No, you don't understand...I'll try REALLY hard..."

"30 years."

I am in nearly the same place David is, except that I have asked all these
questions myself already, and have gotten the same responses!  I am SLOWLY
learning Smalltalk, so I have seen others pick it up much faster through the
same process.  Anyway, I found a framework that made sense to ME (Aida) and
started building SOMETHING.  Then Squeak started to make more sense.  It's a
process, I think, NOT a recipe, and we are all wired differently.

Anyway, that would be my suggestion.  Look at all the books, yes.  Listen to
what people are telling you...yes.  But in your heart you KNOW that the ONLY
way any of it is going to make sense is by USING it.  It took me almost FOUR
years before I could do that, but now I am doing "useful" work.  Very, very,
occasionally I can figure out out something within a "framework" by "reading
it," as has been suggested to you.  Mostly I am still just using the
frameworks, much like you would in a traditional language.  And, like any
language, start from one example, get stuck, and if you can't read the code
in a browser, the most amazing thing about Squeak is NOT the implementation,
but the PEOPLE.  If you can type fast, you'll get fast help!

Hello David,
> DF> Squeak is a toy for academics and hobbyists to try out new ideas and
> DF> explore computing at a higher-level. It wasn't designed for doing
> DF> conventional application development and you won't find much support
> DF> in Squeak for normal commercial programming. In fact, just the
> Squeak is used in several commercial web apps, one example being gas
> billing by Janko.

Janko, by they way, is a shear force of nature.  If you use Aida and need
help, he is contagious.  I would be willing to show you around Aida due
largely to all the help Janko has given me!

Then there are commercial apps in Squek which have nothing to do with
> seaside or aida. Look at Squeak people for Tansel Ersavas' he has done
> several Squeak apps.
> I myself query databases with Squeak, partly using a neural network.
> Then I generate csv and management always has people at hand to make
> their reports in Excel and Word.

Have you written any "tools" for this?  I have been doing some of this for
very challenging information, but like the "easy documentation" and fast
change ability of a visual query designer and the browsing ability of
something like DbVisualizer.  I have been fantasizing about a Squeak based
database exploration tool that could design queries and "drop down" into
Smalltalk collections for the really hard work.

A likely boring example follows:

Take, for example, our hospital chart times.  Each time something is
charted, we get a time stamp.  We have studied the accuracy of these
(particularly when they are back-dated) and found them to be tolerably
accurate.  What we NEED, though, is the arrival and discharge time PER UNIT.
 For example, a patient could flow like this:

Arrive ER
Leave ER
Arrive ICU
Leave ICU
Arrive PCU
Leave PCU
Arrive 3C
Leave 3C
Arrive ICU
Leave ICU

Where ER, ICU, PCU, 3C are just different units.  It is quite common for
patients to move back and forth among units depending on their condition.

Now, the EASY think for us would be if an arrival and discharge time was
documented!  This is a whole other topic about the documentation demands on
nursing staff!  So, for now, just assume we want to solve the problem given
the above information.  The problem you run into with any type of query
grouping is that you run into the situation where you get the first FIRST
ICU time and the last LAST ICU time in the example above, not the first and
last time for each instance of an an ICU visit.  So,  code works great for
stuff like that, but it would be nice to handle the initial pull of chart
times for a date range in a simple query designer!  Especially since I am
leaving out the joins necessary to get patient account numbers, etc...!

Just wondering if someone has already done what I am thinking about!

You have a very valid point regarding office like user interfaces.
> If that's required for your definition of 'conventional application
> development' you're absolutely right.

Although, I have always pictured WxSqueak as a possible alternative for
"conventional development," and have learned enough Smalltalk to go back to
it and check it out again.  It looks like a viable alternative to me to use
my existing Domain Model objects from, say, an Aida application, and provide
a native Windows view...

> DF> For enterprise application development using Smalltalk, you are
> DF> probably better off with a commercial Smalltalk.
> Ask Qwaq or dabbledb about that.

Yes, but I think they have skills I do not!  They can build the TOOLS I am

The other reasons against Squeak are in acceptance by management

I am lucky enough to work somewhere that I can use what gets the job done,
and we are struggling financially, so "free" is good if the ROI does not
suffer due to "lost productivity" using "lesser" tools.  I'm NOT saying
Squeak is "lesser," I'm saying we considered wether it was first (less
stable, etc...).  What I found was that the open source support system
surrounding Squeak is superior to anything out there!  You guys are just
incredibly knowledgeable and very, very, willing to help!

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