[Newbies] Re: Machine gun the Balloon!

Phil (list) pbpublist at gmail.com
Fri May 6 23:30:17 UTC 2016


On Fri, 2016-05-06 at 13:23 -0700, Joseph Alotta wrote:
> I am a beginner with Squeak and the problem I am facing is not
> knowing how to go about using the tools available. 

Having gone through this myself not too many years ago, yet before
things really started to get crazy (in good and bad ways) in the Squeak
world, I appreciate what you're saying.  Squeak and its dialects can
seem pretty impenetrable until you learn 'the basics' which
unfortunately are a bit of a moving target (esp. re: the tools and UI)
depending on what you're trying to learn/do.

> There is a lot of language information, but not a “here’s what we do”
> best practices for developers.  I don’t mean coding, but I mean, how
> to find the resource I need.  How to build your project in pieces
> that you can test, etc.   

This is where things probably get pretty tough once you get beyond the
absolute basics.  In its effort to get better, things are constantly
being broken in ways that are often no big deal once you get over the
hump and learn your way around.  However, they're changing enough to
'break' a lot of the existing tutorials and they're changing often
enough that said tutorials don't seem to be getting updated to reflect
the changes in later releases.  As if this weren't enough, there are
factions with different views on overall direction which directly
impacts things like best practices and is why we have different
'distros' ala Squeak/Pharo/Cuis/etc.

> What I was looking for is an Apprentice kind of relationship, but
> nobody seems interested or nearby. 

That's probably going to be difficult as Smalltalk has a very small
population of programmers vs. other languages.  So getting someone with
experience to spend 1-on-1 time with is going to be difficult and/or
expensive.  Your best bet to get started is to read the mailing lists
(I would recommend this list, squeak-dev, and cuis as they are all good
places to ask basic questions) and just ask when you get stuck.  There
are a few good written works you can use as a starting point (you might
want to check out something from http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/792) and
there are several people who have put together some good intro material
on YouTube (For example Lawson English https://www.youtube.com/playlist
?list=PL6601A198DF14788D and the late James Robertson https://www.youtu
be.com/playlist?list=PL61A023880D3529DB have put together some basic
stuff that should be helpful)

Something I'd highly recommend: if you find a tutorial you like, find
out what version of whatever dialect they based the tutorial on and try
to use that *exact* version (or at least get as close as you can: if
something was written with Squeak 3.x in mind, don't use Squeak 4.x to
try to follow along etc.)  This will minimize the pain of trying to
mentally map the tutorial to a different VM/image with even a slightly
different feature set and UI.  When you're just getting started, that's
not the time you want to be worried about using the bleeding edge VM or
image.  If you can't figure out what version to use, post details and
ask on the lists as either someone who used it or possibly even the
person who created it might be reading.

> Sincerely, 
> Joe. 

Hope this helps,

> > On May 6, 2016, at 1:35 PM, Kirk Fraser [via Smalltalk] <[hidden
> email]> wrote: 
>> > Byte magazine which published the balloon concept for Smalltalk
> rising above the ivory tower of a lighthouse guiding the way in a sea
> of computer languages is out of business. I think it is time for the
> Squeak balloon to be grounded to connect with the reality of why
> computer languages exist - to make things easy for application
> developers.  So I propose all Squeak developers stop "improving"
> Squeak for one year and spend the time writing useful applications in
> Squeak.  That could lead to a basket of new ideas for next year.
>  Maybe make this a regularly scheduled event - a half year for
> applications and a half year for Squeak? 
>> > The reason motivating this suggestion is on the advice of a Squeak-
> Dev member, I downloaded the latest all in one and to my chagrin, I
> found an improvement that made Squeak as worthless as a balloon full
> of machine gun holes.    The Workspace window gets halos with a right
> mouse click on a standard 2 button laptop mouse.  So I'll return to
> an older Squeak for now.   
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