[Newbies] Which environment?

Steve Wessels swessels1955 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 10 13:46:30 UTC 2009

I'm very interested in the topic of which environment for Squeak is best suited for new developers.  When I created the Laser Game tutorial 2 years ago I was aware of the emerging 3.10 and DEV environments.  Yet I chose the base 3.9 system.

There were a few vocal opinions at the time that this was such poor choice on my part that some actually recommended against using the tutorial.

I've begun on an update/rewrite and have really struggled over the choice.  I too am a big fan of improving the tools, and look and feel of Squeak to make it more modern to the common Eclipse user (for example).  I wrote the Skins package back in 1998 as one way of improving Squeak's marketability and appeal.

The concerns I have over which environment to use goes like this:

1.  It must be stable and reliable.
2.  One click install.  The student should not have to go through several web pages, answer a survey, or install packages to begin working.
3.  A consistent web location.  This makes www.squeak.org appealing.
4.  It must be easy to navigate and remain fairly consistent.  I'm not keen about documenting menus that are no longer valid.

The recent thread about stability reminds me that the base image, with it's faults, may still be best.

I've restarted writing two chapters in my updated tutorial more than once now because I keep doubting which choice is optimal.

Love to see a sane, reasoned discussion about this.

- Steve

On Jan 9, 2009, at 6:27 PM, "Cameron Sanders" <camsanders01 at roadrunner.com> wrote:

I thought the Pharo base image (3.10 with a few fonts & Balloon3d added) running on Windows was looking pretty stable. But after an hour of editing code --an hour since the last save—Squeak has abandoned me. It is unresponsive.

Trying both control and alt in combination with ‘.’, ‘l’ (lower case L), ‘c’, does nothing apparently useful. I tried a few other weird combos I thought I saw, but nothing visibly changed.


The process stack reported by Vista shows it to be incurring page-faults like mad. [OK, that has subsided while I typed this email.] My machine has 4 GB of RAM, I am running two instances of internet-explorer, and I have turned off the Windows search-indexing service. I know Vista has a guess-the-next-program pre-loader that could be a little overzealous in displacing programs from RAM… but still… it seems like this 101MB program shouldn’t generate any page faults when the other two leading memory pigs are using less than double that much virtual memory. Vista’s Resource Monitor claims I am using only 43% of physical memory. The page-fault count for Squeak.exe doubled while I typed this message.


When I click the Squeak icon on the window frame of the running copy (upper left on Windows), I do see the menu for VM Preferences. It shows me the menu and allows me to invoke actions. It will allow me to toggle the “Show output console” on and off. The output console shows me changes to memory (as I have that option checked). I can use my mouse wheel to scroll this console. Control-‘.’ and Control-c (and lower case L) in this console do not change anything.


After mucking around in the console area, I am now getting “WARNING: event buffer overflow” just moving my mouse around in squeak. After turning the console off, the pointer is now invisible except when you click. It appears that the overall squeak window is repainting itself properly.


-- Help me debug it


I have an interest in building a commercial application in Squeak. The FAQs says squeak is stable. Given the active community of developers (including The Great Ones), I imagine that it is stable, and that I am just doing something dumb… repeatedly. However, for Squeak to be adopted more broadly, it can’t go zombie on users, even when the user does something dumb. That’s an absolute.


What is the longest uptime a squeak image has ever endured (while doing something useful)? Which version was that and on what platform?


So I am willing to work to help make squeak more robust, but as a complete newbie with it, I need much guidance. So right now, with this hung-up image, what should I do? Should I attach to it with gdb? And if so, then what? [If the internal process control is working, I won’t be able to make heads or tales out of it from gdb, right?]  Or can I launch another squeak and send it a signal in some way [is it listening?]? What is most useful in this case?


[Is there a way in Windows/Vista to signal an app so as to force a core dump?]


Thanks in advance,


PS: I want to emphasize that I do not care about the code lost in this particular instance (it was tutorial code), instead I am looking for a stable free development environment… and I’m willing to help make one.


__________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus signature database 3755 (20090109) __________

The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.

Beginners mailing list
Beginners at lists.squeakfoundation.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/beginners/attachments/20090110/cd06cd02/attachment-0002.htm

More information about the Beginners mailing list