Morphic tutorial

goran.hultgren at goran.hultgren at
Wed Feb 5 10:16:19 UTC 2003

"Just4Fun" <Just4Fun000 at> wrote:
> I was actually pretty excited when I first ran across Squeak. Wow! A
> system that would perform on ANY platform and had a nice "click and
> create" user interface. I've used many programming languages and I tend
> to lose interest due to the arduous "under the hood" coding. I've also
> used authoring systems that don't really give me the control that I
> would like to have. Now squeak looks promising...but, the lack of good
> documentation has left me yearning. It seems like with the number of
> educators that seem to be using Squeak, we would have some excellent
> documentation in this community.

It would seem like a good guess, but obviously its not the case. :-)
Documentation is lacking.

We all know that, even though there are more out there than often meets
the eye at the first look. The Swiki contains quite a lot and there are
also a few gems on the SuperSwiki if I am not mistaken (like the "layout
Project" by Andreas Raab and friends explaining the layout managers).

> I did find a book titled "Squeak:A Quick Trip to ObjectLand". I forked
> out the $40.00 and purchased the book. It is a good book. It certainly

There are also plenty of free high quality Smalltalk books online now -
see Swiki:

Thanks Stephane.

> deals with the language on a level that a beginner can understand, but
> so far, it doesn't really address the use of Squeak using Morphic as in
> Etoys. Now, maybe I'm way off base but I thought that one could program

I am not sure there are any good documentation on the eToy scripting

Or the Morphic system.

These are two different things.

> Squeak through Morphic (click and make programs), then view the scripts
> through Etoys' Morphic interface as well. I'm still trying to understand
> the scripting behind the included games samples. Frankly, if I have to

Personally I don't use eToy scripting at all and I doubt any "serious"
developers in Squeak does either. It was meant for kids and seems to
work very good with kids together with a knowledgeable tutor. But I have
never viewed eToys as a tool for making "applications" in Squeak.

Morphic is a different story. It can be viewed as a very flexible UI
toolkit and used as such too. The SqueakMap Browser that I built just
use Morphic as a "good old UI toolkit" and it was quite easy. If you are
looking for an example of a "browser" then that code is quite simple to
grok I think. As is the Package Loader.

> give Squeak a year to figure out, I'll go back to Visual Basic or C and
> put my year's worth of energy there since I've already invested time and
> money with those languages.  I had hoped to use Squeak to develop on my
> J-720, but after fighting for days to get Morphic installed, when I was
> finally successful(Thanks to Dean and Andreas,Ned and Aaron), I found
> that the Morphic popup menus are cut off by my J-720's shortened screen
> real-estate. Is anyone aware of a way to scroll down to the bottom of
> these menus using the J-720?
> I also wonder if there are any commercial applications that have been or
> are being developed using Squeak or is the VM just too large to make it
> realistic to use in embedded applications.

There are stuff being made with Squeak. In the embedded arena I don't
Personally I have a webapp running that hopefully will generate a bit of
money when I can gather up some more customers. Currently I only have
one. :-) But hey, $80 per month is at least something.

> I know this email is all over the board, but I can sure relate to the
> sense of frustration that others are voicing over the lack of written
> documentation to accompany Squeak. 

We all do. It's just that people don't have the time to sit down and
make good documentation. After all people are doing most of this in
their spare time. Well, you know all that of course.

The best advice is still to first learn Smalltalk through all the
available free books and tutorials - there *are* lots of that. And then
when the language is not the barrier anymore you start digging into the
image. But make sure to learn at least these tricks first:

1. Method finder.
2. All the browsers (system browser, hierarchy browser, protocol
3. Remember to check the class comments. If there are any. :-)
4. Remember to look at the class side for "example" code.
5. Make sure you know what alt-N, alt-n, alt-m, alt-i, alt-I does. These
are super important to use!
6. Make sure you know how to debug code.
7. Remember that the image probably already contains tons of examples in
the form of the environment itself.
8. Don't hesitate to ask the list if you get stuck. But make sure you
have at least tried a bit first. :-)

Well, if this list was "old news" for you then. Well, worth repeating
for other newbies reading at least!

> Alan Kay is probably one of the greatest programmers that ever wrote a
> line of code. I sure wish that this language could become more widely
> known and supported.  Just my 2 cents...
> Incidentally, AARP had a nice little side bar regarding Alan Kay and the
> Squeak language. Did anyone else catch it?


regards, Göran

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