How does a newbie get past the feeling thay he is trying to understand an elephant whilst looking through a keyhole?

Chris Muller chris at
Fri May 5 20:40:02 UTC 2006

I certainly understand and agree with that sentiment.  Most things with Squeak seem to require a little sweat to get going.  Heck, a lot of packages don't even present a workspace pop-up suggesting where to start; you actually have to look for code-elements and examine just to figure out where to start!
 But many things do "work", some even well.  Its just that packages under development move so fast they quickly become slightly contentious with each other.  I think this problem exists in any technology, but amplified in Squeak commmunity.  I think its the side-effects of rapid commumity development, the wide-openness of the system, and a community still struggling with coordination and money.
 But I know we can do better, even just a change to a more-inviting mindset would help tremendously.  I think SqueakMap has the right mindset because it tries to document how to get something working; which version, what should be the expected stability, etc. 
 I do think we need better "one-click loading".  SqueakMap can do it, its just laborious (but flexible) to post, I tried to resurrect SARBuilder but rapid development and lack of coordination and other code changing under me rapidly..  sigh.
 Things *are* considerably better than they were, and I think they'll get better and more stable.

----- Original Message ----
From: Antony Blakey <antony.blakey at>
To: squeak-dev at
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2006 8:38:55 AM
Subject: Re: How does a newbie get past the feeling thay he is trying to understand an elephant whilst looking through a keyhole?

All of which reinforces the original point of the thread. So many things definitely don't "just work" - especially given
that I had no idea if this was a) known to be broken; or b) my config error; or c) broken in my particular version; or
d) fixable by investigating the code.

Not a criticism, just an observation that it's difficult to empathise with a newbie when you are not.

As an aside, I guess this is a significant advantage that e.g. VW has over Squeak.

Chris Muller wrote:
> Yes it works fine with Refactoring browser, it just doesn't get called because Refactoring Browser modifies methods which call the standard methods browser to call its own VERY unfriendly methods browser.
>  This might be avoidable if you load Tracing Messages Browser AFTER Refactoring browser, otherwise you'll have to revert a few methods that Refactoring Browser installs which calls its own terrible methods browser.
>  If you are a new Smalltalker, this would be a good exercise in finding and updating code to suit you.  You can find the methods which need to be changed by using the Command+Shift+e on the text of the menu (i.e., "implementors of...").
>  To get you started, #implementorsOfIt and #sendersOfIt in ParagraphEditor will take care of the ones when browsing out of a code pane..  Another is CodeHolder>>#messageListKey:from: which will take care of using the hot key invocations from message lists..
>  This is life in Smalltalk.  The system is open so things sometimes get changed, particularly when it comes to the IDE.  Thankfully, the system is open so at least you can take control of your own software destiny.
>   - Chris

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