[Seaside] OSCON report

stephane ducasse stephane.ducasse at free.fr
Sun Jul 30 18:08:10 UTC 2006

Hi wilkes

I agree for Sails. ;)
May be we should join forces with all the videos I did and your to  
create a decent web site (mine is really just a
folder) with videos showing how to develop in Smalltalk.


On 30 juil. 06, at 03:48, Wilkes Joiner wrote:

> Thanks for the update Avi.  Good to hear.  I've been convinced for a
> long time that the more attention Ruby/Python get the better off
> Smalltalk is.  It will help to break the static branches of
> programming and will bring a larger mind share into the late-binding
> camping.
> I've got a screencast in the queue to address the issue of learning
> Smalltalk.  This is motived by Ralph Johnson's post
> (http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/squeak-dev/2006-May/ 
> 104071.htm).
> Smalltalk is so radically different that the conventional ways of
> learning a new programming language are not applicable.  Tutorials and
> api documentation are the main ways of learning most envirionments.
> In Smalltalk, the trick is learning how to browse the image and
> experiment with running code using the workspace and the inspectors.
> I think this is more effective once you figure out how to do it.
> The thing that is killing me with Rails is not being able to read the
> code I'm relying on.  I can open a text on editor on the source once I
> find it, but this brutally primitive compared to what comes for free
> with Smalltalk.  Porting ActiveRecord to Smalltalk with its own
> browser would really leap frog what is available in Ruby.  Someone
> will write a good IDE for Ruby and Rails.  It's inevitable.  However,
> given the heavy reliance on runtime code generation in both Ruby and
> Rails,  it seems to me to be a really challenging prospect.  Not only
> do you have to deal with dynamic typing.  The definition of a lot
> classes only exist at runtime.  In Smalltalk, we can do that, but it
> is done far less frequently than in Ruby. I would rather just port
> ActiveRecord.
> I'll get a screencast together tomorrow and post a link on this list
> and squeak-dev for feedback.
> - Wilkes
> BTW, I prefer Sails to StOR.
> On 7/29/06, Avi Bryant <avi.bryant at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Since this StOR thread seems to be about reaching an audience we
>> haven't had before, it's probably worth mentioning what I've been up
>> to for the last week.
>> I've just returned from the O'Reilly's open source OSCON conference.
>> I gave a talk on Seaside very intentionally angled not towards
>> convincing people to jump ship from Python/Perl/Rails etc, but rather
>> towards getting them to consider some of the basic technologies -
>> like the the Canvas, Component, Callback and Continuation model (hm,
>> never noticed all those C's before) - for use in their environment of
>> choice.  However, interest was high enough that:
>> - I gave a 45 minute talk to a packed room (some good photos at
>> http://flickr.com/photos/jacobian/)
>> - followed by about 30 minutes of Q&A with most people still in  
>> the room
>> - followed by 3 hours of conversation with a large group at dinner
>> about Seaside and Smalltalk
>> - followed by a subset of that group tracking me down first thing the
>> next morning and making me spend another couple of hours doing a
>> Squeak demo
>> What I found is that a) a huge number of these people have tried
>> Squeak before, and that b) they were all very excited by what they
>> saw in my (very simple) demo, but none of them had been able to make
>> the journey themselves from the one to the other - that is, it was
>> impossible for them to just download a Squeak image and, with no
>> prior Smalltalk experience, find their way through a Hello World
>> Seaside app.  So they decided Squeak wasn't for them.  There's also a
>> huge amount of confusion and disinformation about the state of things
>> like version control: essentially everyone seems to believe that the
>> image is the only way to distribute Smalltalk code, and is
>> understandably leery of this.
>> I sensed enough goodwill, and got enough concrete offers to publish
>> articles/books/etc, to think that the opportunity is there to get a
>> mainstream audience for Seaside *if* (and this is a fairly large if)
>> we want it and have the resources to put into it.  What it would
>> take, I think, is a custom Squeak distribution and tutorial/
>> screencast that was aimed at a non-Smalltalk audience.  It would need
>> to cover:
>> - The browser
>> - The workspace
>> - Saving, loading, and merging in Monticello
>> - The basics of Seaside (a revamped "Walk on the Seaside" tutorial
>> would be fine)
>> An ActiveRecord-like simple O/R framework would certainly help too,
>> but I think the above is a higher priority.
>> Incidentally, I was asked by a few people at the conference how big
>> the Seaside community was, and I was very pleased to be able to say
>> "well, I almost never post to the list anymore, because other people
>> are doing all the question answering, discussing, and committing".
>> That's pretty cool, and an important threshold to cross, I think.
>> Avi
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