Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? {Dr. Dobb's Journal (05/06/06) Chan, Jeremy}

Mike Hales mike.hales at
Thu May 11 23:15:29 UTC 2006

I think that the VW UI looks quite good under Windows and Mac OS.  It has
also had many changes to the look and the tools as it has progressed from
version to version.  Look at 7.* compared to 5i.4  and 3.0.

Squeak on the other hand looks wierd on all platforms with no sign of
change.  I am dedicated Smalltalker and Squeak's UI is a huge barrier for
entry for me.  I can't imagine that any non-smalltalker would see it and
like it.  It's strengths are far greater than it's weaknesses but it takes a
certain level of proficiency to finally realize that.

I think dolphin has the look that makes it easier for people to want to look

We shouldn't judge books by their cover, but everyone does.  That's totally
normal.  Even if it has a 350 under the hood, who wants to drive a rusted
out chevy nova?  Or who wants a ferrari painted with a bunch of wierd random

Getting a little sex appeal, together with the amazingly cool Smalltalk
features would make a huge difference in drawing new users.  Look at Apple
for example.  Why buy an ipod or a mac when they cost more for the same
functions.  Because you like using them.  It is a pleasure to see the great

We always say how if you don't like how squeak looks you can change it.  But
why not make it handsome from the get go and let the guys who want it ugly
change it?


On 5/11/06, Michael Latta <lattam at> wrote:
> I really do not have an issue with the Squeak UI.  It is different from
> the
> platform UI but seems reasonably well implemented and such.  The size of
> scroll bars and borders is a bit small for my taste and eyes these days.
> But, since this is Smalltalk I can always change them!
> Mostly I was referring to the perception of Smalltalk as a language/system
> that had its day and was on the decline.  That is generally the response I
> get when mentioning it to those that have not actually used it on a
> project,
> or who have been converted to the mainstream of Java or .Net.
> The VisualWorks UI is a bit dated and still has the annoying 10 year old
> bug
> of not always repainting windows properly.  That bug alone makes it look
> dated.
> Michael
> -----Original Message-----
> From: squeak-dev-bounces at
> [mailto:squeak-dev-bounces at] On Behalf Of Bob
> Erb
> Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 3:03 PM
> To: The general-purpose Squeak developers list
> Subject: Re: Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? {Dr. Dobb's Journal
> (05/06/06) Chan, Jeremy}
> On 5/10/06, Michael Latta <lattam at> wrote:
> > While Squeak can do far more than Ruby or Python, they
> > get much more press.  In part this is because Smalltalk is seen as old.
> The out-of-the-box UI is very old-fashioned; quaint, with the mousey
> eyes, and the little window with the balloon, and the quirky colors. Maybe
> a slick update -- for programmers, rather than kids -- would help dispell
> the "old" image. Maybe LCARS . . . :-)
> - Bob

Mike Hales
Engineering Manager
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