Squeak SSP-- huh?

Nevin Pratt nevin at smalltalkpro.com
Wed Apr 3 18:24:48 UTC 2002

I've been playing around with the SSP stuff at 
http://ssp-squeak.swiki.net, and quite frankly, I'm at a loss at 
understanding what good it is.

Well, it's a totally different animal than the SSP work that Alan Knight 
did for VW.  For one thing, you write your "Active Smalltalk Pages" in 
the Class Browser instead of using external files.  Hmmm, that might 
even be useful, except for the way it works.

OK, I type the example from the swiki into the browser (any class):

     serveletExampleOn: strm
        <ssp on: strm>

        This is an example servelet method.  I can embed code in this
        string as follows:  <%= (1 + 1) printString %>.

I then "accept" the method, and... voila!  The method magically changes 
  to normal Smalltalk code of (I am using Squeak 3.2gamma):

     servletExampleOn: strm
        strm nextPutAll: 'This is an example servelet method.  I can
embed code in the string as follows: ',
        (1 + 1) printString sspStreamOn: strm.
        strm nextPutAll: '.

(in case anyone is curious, the implementation of #sspStreamOn: is just: 
  strm nextPutAll: self)

Now, the problem with the above is that if I had wanted it to convert my 
original HTML/SSP source string to pure Smalltalk code, I would have 
written it in pure Smalltalk in the first place.  It doesn't preserve my 
original code *at all*.  Nor is there apparantly any easy way to feed it 
an arbitrary string read in from an external file.

Now, if you compare this to the work that Alan did with VW...

...with Alan's work, I can have my 12 year old son do HTML pages with 
Dreamweaver (my son's tool of choice), and then gradually introduce him 
to embedded Smalltalk code within his HTML pages, thus giving him a 
gradual introduction to Smalltalk.

I don't see any way of doing anything like that with the Squeak SSP 
stuff.  For that matter, I have a hard time seeing any use for the 
Squeak approach *at all*.  I would just write Smalltalk code rather than 
let the SSP parser convert my HTML/SSP code to Smalltalk for me.

Anybody have contrasting points of view?  I'd love to hear from you.


More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list