Spreading Smalltalk

Cees de Groot cg at cdegroot.com
Wed Jan 1 00:23:06 UTC 1997

 <goran.hultgren at bluefish.se> said:
>2. The "development model" is different. People need to learn a few
>things before they understand the image-concept etc. [...] Smallscript
>does that now, but hey - proprietary, non x-platform etc. Not really a
>mass contender IMHO.

- Java startup time is slow as h^Hwell.
- GNU Smalltalk is geared towards scripts
- Smalltalk without the image is, IMHO, not where new people should start.
  Without the image, it's just a nice language - again, IMHO, most of the
  speed increase can be attributed to the image and the development
  environment, not to something particularly nice to the barebones language
  (which, after all, has some serious contenders by now: Python 2.2 and Ruby,
  for example).

>3. Squeak (being the largest "free" Smalltalk) suffers from poor
>documentation. Compared to Python/Ruby it seems very disorganized. In
>reality the code is probably just fine, but good reference documentation
>etc. has been lacking. I think we can do better.

We can do *way* better, but someone seems to have displaced the PIE source
code... ;-)

>4. Even though the syntax is great (I do NOT argue for changing it) it
>might "scare off" newbies initially. On the other hand - a good tutorial
>can teach the syntax in about 3 minutes so I don't really think it's a
>problem. Might be just a myth.
I think it's a myth. But an important one to dispell.

>1. Polish the webpresence for Squeak. The website doesn't look so
>"cool". This takes time and dedication...

It's not about coolness, it's about completeness. Compare Python.org with the
Squeak stuff. 

One of the ideas I'm having (in reference to the earlier thread of full-text
searching on the mail archive) is to use Harvest (a distributed search engine)
to at least bring all the Squeak resources together behind a single search
interface. Would that be an idea?

>2. Produce good reference docs by integrating some form of documentation
>tools in the environment. 

See PIE comment, above (I think I blabbered about documentation somewhere
on this list earlier this year). Personally, I think we should first to
strive to make documentation available inside Squeak in an optimal way
(books, with all sorts of embedded Morphs) and only think about "legacy
web access" later on. That'll probably provide the right mindset to do
something really great in this area.

>3. Add more examples (and perhaps functionality) on simple Smalltalk
>scripting. There are numerous very good webframeworks available for/in
>Squeak and they should be able to attract people. Perhaps killerapps
>such as them should be presented more agressively on www.squeak.org.
It probably all starts with moving squeak.org from <insert whoever it
maintains here> to a more community-supported effort.

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg at cdegroot.com>
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