Call for Action! ...or "The Holy Crusade Against Empty Class Comments"

Norton, Chris chrisn at
Thu Apr 18 20:34:15 UTC 2002

In lieu of contributing an actual comment (sorry!), I have an idea that I
feel may improve this area of Squeak.  Please consider this.

Let's say that you are reviewing the class comment for a particular class.
The comment may or may not be satisfying, but you are still in need of more
information.  Wouldn't it be nice if the browser had a simple mechanism that
would let you browse the class' comment hierarchy?  In other words, without
changing context (without leaving the class you are browsing), it would be
nice to see its superclass' comment (and so on, up the hierarchy).  In fact,
since we're not talking about a lot of text, this extra information might
*always* be useful.  Perhaps it would be nice to see the super class
comments appended after the usual class comment (superclass comments could
be separated by a line), in the comment pane for the class you're browsing.

The general issue I'm skirting with this suggestion is the *scope of
visibility* of comments (or source code) from Squeak browsers.  I do not
like opening other window(s) to see superclass comments or methods; I
greatly prefer the ability to retain my context (also, small screens' real
estate limitations are a real concern).

At least two other Smalltalks have viable single-window source code
visibility (Visual Smalltalk Enterprise and Visual Age Smalltalk).  Having
used both of these products, daily, for many years, I speak with some
experience when I say that this is a useful concept.

I've been using Squeak recreationally since the birth of version 2, and have
made several attempts at tackling this issue, but, unfortunately, I'm a
weekend Squeaker, and I have had to abort my efforts for many reasons -- If
you've ever modified the tools in Squeak, you understand that this is not a
trivial job that can be completed (and tested!) in an afternoon.

I would be happy to assist another Squeaker or three towards improving this
part of Squeak, but I cannot guarantee more than a few hours a week.


---==> Chris

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