Who has no job? (was Re: O'Reilly Squeak book?)

Cees de Groot cg at cdegroot.com
Thu Apr 18 18:39:35 UTC 2002

Charles Hixson <charleshixsn at earthlink.net> said:
>And it shows in the language design.
Careful here. Most of the stuff you're discussing below is not about the
language design, but about the user interface. 

>Sorry, but this is basic.  Dialogs need to look reasonable.  There needs 
>to be a decent way to make them.  There needs to be a decent way to 
>align the parts.
I'm quite sure that's all there (apart from the looks, but personally I think
Squeak looks entirely reasonable and that's a matter of taste; luckily one you
don't need to discuss at lengths, there's enough stuff about alternative looks
on the Swiki :-)).

>There needs to be a good way to secure them against 
>right-clicks.  (I have been told that such a way exists, but the 
>environment doesn't give evidence of it.)
It is possible (just handle the appropriate mouseclicks yourself so the halo
never shows up), but...

>Squeak is a great environment for programmers.  It seems to be a lousy 
>environment to turn end-users loose in.
the whole thing is a *great* environment to turn end-users loose in. It's
indeed a lousy environment for Taylorian people who thinks that creativity
should be confined to do just what the boss ordered them to do, but if you
really want that, there's a gray striped suit equivalent of Squeak called
"VisualWorks" ;-).

The fun of Squeak is exactly that after the programmer developed some basic
components, the user goes on to make whatever he/she likes in the environment.
That's the whole idea, no distinction between compile time and run time. 

I concur that it is not exactly suited for the majority of office applications
today, and it is possible to lock everything down (just download a copy of
SqueakNews and see whether you can 'break in'), so again the answer is
probably "you can do that, but it's not the mainstream idea behind Squeak so
don't be surprised if you have to dig a little".

>This could all be answered if there were a good way to create a "stand 
>alone executable".  I notice that Dolphin sells that as their high end 
>product.  But this is so basic that no professional application can be 
>created without it.  (Well, maybe some, but none that I could use at my 
Strange world you live in. 'foo.exe' is all OK, while 'foo.exe bar.image'
is suddenly "unprofessional". Well, I am glad that your users are
so professional as to reject the majority of applications out there
(Acrobat reader? Nay, lots of files. Photoshop? Sorry, can't use it -
more than one file involved). What *are* they using? IIRC, even WordPerfect
4.2 for MS-DOS was more then one file. (oh, and don't react on my only
slightly veiled sarcasm here - it just sounds soo strange to me).

It would be relatively easy, by the way, to patch the VM so that it looks at
the end of itself for the object memory image; I wouldn't be surprised if such
a patch is already floating around, but if not, I recall doing this sort of
stuff back when I used MS-DOS with .EXE files, and it is quite feasible (and
if there are more environments like the one you seem to work in, it might be a
useful feature to have a sort of "freeze" button that wraps up VM and image in
a single file).

>The power of Squeak really amazes me.  It's so easy to create an 
>animation.  Etc.  But the appearant weaknesses are equally amazing.
>The basic parts of most jobs are:
[daily life of office droid snipped]

They maybe *are* the basic parts of most jobs, but *should they be*? That's
the question that Squeak is prying at (well, maybe not directly for office
work, although the first deployment of Smalltalk and a GUI was for office 
work, IIRC - the current emphasis is more on multimedia, art, education). 

The work you describe as important (and, alas, as actually comprising most of
people's daily lives at the moment) are a direct result of the division of
labour as cooked up by Taylor. Lots of people don't agree with Taylor, and for
them it could be a liberating experience to have a *really* personal
environment with the basic tools to do their jobs and the full power to
configure and organize their stuff the way *they* want it. 

(think: what exactly is 'personal' with the average 'personal' computer in 
an office these days?)

>Then I say:  If I were to want to print this out, what would the 
>printout look like? 

Then I say: what do you need a print-out for? I think that dead trees are
decidedly suboptimal for the storage and retrieval of information when you got
BookMorphs to play with.

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg at cdegroot.com>
GnuPG 1024D/E0989E8B 0016 F679 F38D 5946 4ECD  1986 F303 937F E098 9E8B

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