Squeak book

Stefan Matthias Aust sma at kiel.netsurf.de
Thu Dec 31 17:06:52 UTC 1998

Andres wrote:

>Yes, there's a much bigger than usual critical mass needed to start 
>understanding what's going on. But Dan Ingalls' '81 Byte article is a great 
>compendium that anyone can read in little time. Still ok, you first need to 
>assimilate a new set of axioms and start using them right away.

I like that critical mass metapher ;-)  It might be possible that the '81
article would help, but then need to get it first.  Perhaps all you need is
to republish the old articles.  But I'd count this on the "contents is more
important than form" argument I tried to make.

>This looks like church history...

Well, I don't think so. At least I wasn't forced to deny Smalltalk :-) I
think it better compares to either the people who thing that the way is the
goal or the other people who just want to reach the goal.

>Workspace and alt-d, alt-p is not that traumatic! And notice that with 
>enter... what would you like? Printit or showit?

You're right. I was ranting mainly because of my experiences teaching VW
and there, you don't have even simple keyboard accelerators (Unless you
file-in my EditKeys feelpolicy of course ;-)  When teaching Cobol-people, I
noticed that they'd severe problems with that select&action pattern of
Smalltalk. They were keyboard-centric people.

>>The browser needs wizards to create classes and methods.

Never said that you must use them, but try to explain the funny effects
that occur if you make some errors filling out the class creation pattern.
Strange error messages or even system crashes because somebody just
redefined Class upto recompilations of the whole system can occur.

>Break points I don't know... maybe not. I guess they're most probably 

Well, just because I want to stop the execution, I don't want to modify a
method and "polute" the change set.  And again, while "normal" break points
are intuitively usable, people have to understand the full set of Smalltalk
syntax before they can correctly insert "self halt" statements.

>Several attempts to obtain translated Smalltalk systems to Spanish and 
>Portuguese failed miserably because of gender.

Same here in Germany.  However, you misunderstood me (or I didn't make the
point clear). I just suggested a translated IDE where the browser has a
"Ausführen/Ausgeben/Untersuchen" menu instead of "doit/print/inspect."
Have you ever tried to teach Smalltalk to people who never learn english?
Once I tought VisualWorks to some East German ladies who eventually
confessed on the third day (as if that would be something you'd have to be
ashamed about) that they never learned English but only Russian at school.
Well.  Now at once, it's not only a strange language where every message
selector must be learned like a strange vocabular but also the whole IDE is
alien.  All other major programming languages have IDEs which are localized.

>Arreglo nuevo
Feld neu (as "neu" is an adjective it's independant of gender)

eineCollection := Collection neu.
eineCollection tue: [:jedes | jedes anzeigeZeichenkette]

(Arg, this sounds really strange, even if it's somewhat German. :-)

>Accented vowels are extremely irritating in any programming environment. So 
>spelling is also broken on the way. Simple words as child, year, tomorrow, 
>morning and even Spanish in Spanish contain ñ.

All I want in Squeak is, that $ñ isLetter or $á isLetter or $ä isLowercase
all answer true instead of false.  I think, that shouldn't be difficult to
add.  As Western European, I'm happy with Squeak default font which
resembles ISO Latin1  (I don't know), but I can hear the complains of
Russians (not talking about people of Far and Near East) who demand their
letters.  Perhaps the best solution would be to switch to Unicode.

Happy New Year!
Stefan Matthias Aust  //  Are you ready to discover the twilight zone?

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