[DOCS] RE: The Magic Book - a design draft

Hannes Hirzel hannes.hirzel.squeaklist at bluewin.ch
Tue Feb 11 19:42:08 UTC 2003

Hallo Thorsten

Torsten.Bergmann at phaidros.com wrote:
> >- Projects: A very good format for "active content". I am not sure how 
> >easily they are backwardscompatible though. Could anyone post some 
> >insight in that matter? 
> What about Squeak Books: We already had an attempt to document the 
> system with them. Look at 
> http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeakpages/4 
> Projects are a nice medium for documenting too. Look at next 
> attempt on documenting the system ("Squeak - or how the mouse roars") 
> gives an overview and 
> is the 
> entry point to it. 
> It was done with projects and unfortunately it was easily broken with 
> the next squeak version after the authoring version. The nice thing 
> is that people are able to run it in a webbrowser without having 
> to install squeak. 

Yes Thorsten, you put in a lot of effort at the time (actually already 3
years ago!)
to come up with documentation which may be used from within Squeak.
It didn't take off probably because it was so difficult to maintain it
as it
was easily broken and Morphic was still very much in flux. But I read
them at the time and I considered them to be helpful.

But nowadays Morphic is fairly stable (although a bit "crufty" - see the

current discussion). From a user point of view it works fairly well and
seems that we have reached a plateau somewhat as things which may
break the image go to SqueakMap and we can work with a pretty
stable core image. (The development of breaking it up in 3.5 goes on
but that shoudn't bother us in this discussion).

> We had this technology before - but no one cared about writing 
> tutorials with Squeak itself or writing tutorials with a reusable 
> and common style anyway or updating them. Maybe we can change this 
> with a more accessible SqueakMap and a predefined environment (StarBrowser,
> ...) in the future. 


Which of the projects you did would you recommend as a candidate for
to version 3.4 and putting to SqueakMap? There are seven people who
signed up
for helping with documentation 

and we need specific requests. At the moment
we do not have clearly assigned tasks besides cleaning up the minnow
which is done in a bit a haphazard way - or perhaps to put it better we
wander around and clean up the most outdated stuff directed by personal
BTW anybody may join this endeavour. Even if it is just updating *one*
you did a few months or years ago.

A motivation is that the German Squeak Users group will put another
snapshot of the swiki on a CDROM in autumn and it would be nice to have
a more
coherent documenation. The amount of pages is fairly impressive - about
2000 pages!

To drive this process we need user requests. So if you want to have
explained please speak up!

My suggestion: I read on the Squeak foundation swiki that one to the
things to tackle would be to use Squeak as a presentation system.
as it already is a presentation system the task is to write or update
HOW-TOs and to come up perhaps with some goodies and import/export

To sum up: May I ask you Thorsten to do a list of projects (.pr files)
you did  which you consider worthwile updating to 3.4?
And thank you for your efforts at that time - sometimes  there is quite
a lag
until something takes off .... ;-)

In e-learning there is a learning objects approach en vogue at the
That means one builds self contained units of instructions ("learning
objects" -
not in the fine-grained sense of Smalltalk objects but rather for
.pr - Project files). In a constructivist appoach they are then
to courses - so far the theory.


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