Squeak IDE Look-n-Feel

ajalis at twu.net ajalis at twu.net
Thu Dec 14 20:37:14 UTC 2000

A more general solution to the Look-n-Feel problem would be a way to
share images (like modules). I mean a way to combine images, or to load
more than one image.

I am thinking here about the Java's .jar files which are essentially
a collection of class defitions. File-out seems to support that but
because the output is text it is not as compact or controllable as an
image would be.

Is there something like this in Squeak already?

Also I thinking here of CPAN and Perl's large number of share-able

The impact of this feature would mostly be on the sociology of Squeak.
Instead of being forced to decide on one path different people could
implement different solutions to various problems (like look-n-feel). Over
time the best solution would win out in an evolution-style competition.

The current model seems to be that you have to download someone else's
entire image. This makes it hard to combine different good ideas.

E.g. if I really like the math package in image A and I really like the
graphical package in image B there is no way for me to have both.

The ideal solution would be a tiny base distribution (the 2M distribution
discussed earlier). After this you pick and drop the pre-compiled
image-modules based on personal taste.

This facility could support RPM-like features so that it is possible to
install a module into an image and also to un-install it. RPM is Linux's
RedHat Package Manager.

Eventually there could even be a centralized repository of modules
(like Perl's CPAN).

The model that seems to be followed in Perl is this:

1. Initially someone comes up with a good idea. They create the module
and put it on CPAN.

2. Other people are stimulated to provide different solutions to the
same problems.

3. Over time the different packages grow in response to user feedback.

4. Eventually a best-of-breed solution becomes apparent and soon after
that it is incorporated into the main language.

An example of this is the CGI.pm module which makes Perl so pervasive
on the web.

My key-point is there must be a way to share classes in binary form
(so not file-out) without being forced to share the whole image. And it
should be possible to combine binary classes from different people into
one coherent image.

If this facility already exists could someone point me to it? Thanks.


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