Good, thorough Smalltalk reference

Gary Fisher gafisher at
Tue Jan 17 10:48:20 UTC 2006


"Up-to-date" is a slippery concept when you're dealing with a dynamic
system.  Not only is Squeak evolving day by day, but a given installation of
Squeak / Smalltalk changes substantially as it's used.  The reason I
suggested books tied to specific versions of the language was not because
there's nothing up to date but because they all offer a stable starting
point from which both the language and the student can *get* up to date.

Having said that, though, I would certainly agree that rich opportunities
exist for those who can write good training materials.

As for barriers to entry, my opinion is that the the reason every kid
doesn't leave school knowing Smalltalk  is more religious/political than
practical.  I'm incensed that we're teaching kids to use a stinking word
processor and calling it "computer literacy."  Don't get me started.  <G>


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lynn Hales" <lhales at>
To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list"
<squeak-dev at>
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 1:25 PM
Subject: Re[2]: Good, thorough Smalltalk reference

Hello Gary and All, for me documentation is paramount.  By looking at how
many Smalltalk programmers there are and how many "newbies" there seem to be
there is a large barrier to entry that I think many can't or don't want to
see.  It's documentation, how to's, cook books, best practices all in book
form - electronic or paper. Class comments are very important but they are
not even close to a substitute.  Up to date writings are mandatory for wider
adoption and participation.  All the talk about learning the class library,
how to program in Smalltalk, how to create GUI's in Morphic by reading Class
comments is nuts.  That's not a best practices approach and by just looking
around it is easy to see it isn't working.

If we want the benefits of wider participation in the Squeak world then we
need to write and keep what has been written up to date.  Lynn

Monday, January 16, 2006, 4:22:29 AM, you wrote:

GF> Rich,

GF> Others have offered far better than two cent's worth; all I've got is
GF> shiny penny.  As has been pointed out, Squeak and Smalltalk are dynamic
GF> systems which change both with development and with use, so a generic
GF> is bound to be at least somewhat inaccurate.  My suggestion, therefore,
GF> to look into a book which defines or even includes the precise version
GF> Squeak (or other Smalltalk) upon which it is based.  This will, by the
GF> nature of the beast, leave you with a more or less outdated version of
GF> language, but it shouldn't be outdated by much and can probably be
GF> (as can you) fairly easily.

GF> The most current of these, as far as I know, is Stef's "Squeak: Learn
GF> Programming with Robots," ISBN 1590594916.  This book takes the reader
GF> the hand, assuming nothing, and leads on to a pretty fair overview of
GF> Squeak / Smalltalk and of programming in general.  A huge advantage of
GF> book is the author's active participation on this list.

GF> Two more excellent choices are Mark Guzdial's "Squeak: Object-Oriented
GF> Design with Multimedia Applications" (ISBN 0130280283) and his later
GF> "Squeak: Open Personal Computing and Multimedia" (ISBN 0130280917).
Both of
GF> these are based on older versions of Squeak (which they include) and
GF> especially, as you might guess, with Squeak's particular strengths in
GF> multimedia, but both are quite useful.  Finally, "Squeak: A Quick Trip
GF> ObjectLand" (ISBN 0201731142) by Gene Korienek et al, teaches Smalltalk
in a
GF> conversational manner which some love and some hate, using Squeak
GF> as its foundation.

GF> None of these are "references" per se, which as others have pointed out
is a
GF> tough thing to do, but any of them can bring the user to the point where
GF> self-referencing features of Squeak / Smalltalk can be understood.

GF> I hope that helps.

GF> Gary

GF> ----- Original Message ----- 
GF> From: "Rich" <rjseagraves at>
GF> To: <squeak-dev at>
GF> Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:23 PM
GF> Subject: Good, thorough Smalltalk reference

GF> So that I don't have to keep posting queries to this list like the one
GF> I just posted, I was wondering if anybody could recommend a good,
GF> thorough Squeak/Smalltalk language reference.  So far searching online
GF> I've found alot of "The 5 minute intro to Smalltalk" type stuff, but
GF> as these intros becomes less helpful as I try to do more interesting
GF> stuff (after all, you can only add 2 numbers or filter a list so many
GF> times in the Workspace before the "coolness" wears off ;-).  Thanks
GF> alot.

GF> -Rich

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Best regards,
 Lynn                            mailto:lhales at

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