[Newbies] Another Answer

Overcomer Man overcomer.man at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 14:35:19 UTC 2011

Q. I want to learn Smalltalk but without the baggage of an IDE. Just let me
use my favorite text editor, that's much easier.

You can do it but you have to write your code in "fileIn" format so
Smalltalk will accept your external editor's code, compile, and execute it.
 "fileIn" formats can vary between Smalltalks.

The baggage of the IDE is essentially an object database of precompiled
library software.  You can compare various Smalltalks to a lean C++ IDE
like Bloodshed, a bloated C++ IDE like Qt, and a maximally bloated Visual
Studio.net.  As one programmer you don't have time to fix everything to
your taste - you'll be lucky to learn a library enough to find the tools
you want to do your task.

Libraries can sometime include 30 year old bugs that nobody has ever fixed
because they are too hard to discover.  Usenet tells of a major military
project written in Smalltalk which was cancelled and replaced with C++
because of phantom ships appearing when they shouldn't.  They couldn't
figure it out and fix it.

There are several possible reasons for this.  Professional code tends to be
written for maximum understanding by users, but free code is often written
for the fun of the programmer, so real meaningful object names give way to
convoluted names that only have meaning in the worldview of that particular
programmer.  If the function they do is important enough, sometimes these
become popular, making the function hard to learn for everyone else.
 Another reason is executing code is notoriously difficult to debug in some
circumstances, especially when other code in the IDE depends on it.
 Changing the definition of terms in a particular object's communication
with another object might fix one problem and create ten more.  So
essentially one has to learn the entire library to redevelop something
that's been around a while.

On a positive note, Cuis provides a leaner library than Squeak and is also
licensed so you can deliver it IDE and all with your application code
running on top, so you can deliver a lot more value to your users than with
an ordinary exe.
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