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

nicolas cellier ncellier at
Fri May 12 20:37:28 UTC 2006

Le Vendredi 12 Mai 2006 09:54, Todd Blanchard a écrit :
> You should try selling the Mac look to a Mac crowd. :-)  The UI
> emulation strategy isn't quite doing the job these days - there are
> always little clues/imperfections/holes that can be seen.  I also
> have had problems with VW's rendering speed on the Mac.  You can
> still watch it draw.  One would expect that drawing the text in a
> scrolling list would be instant these days but it is not.
> I think wxWindows holds out the most hope.
> On May 11, 2006, at 11:07 PM, Hans N Beck wrote:
> > I've had always trouble to convince marketing people with the look
> > of VW, even 7.3 (or 7.4). It was astonishing - they always cried
> > "hey, that's not windows" at demos with VW. They have a remarkable
> > sense for "native" windows look :-))

It is clear that Smalltalk-80 had more than 10 years of advance in the late 
70's. But since these glorious days, what major invention came from Smalltalk 
UI? I mean something so marvelous that it is copied by challengers...

If you try to mimic the OS native interface, it's only a defensive strategy, 
by construction something imperfect and always one version late...
You're wasting development forces to follow the leaders, and don't invent 
anymore in this domain...
As already said, emulated feel is worse than emulated look... And i think this 
is what is annoying your clients if they have to switch often with native UI.

That is why Dolphin looks a little better than VW: it does not emulate, it 
plugs native interface... But Dolphin doesn't care of unix world. That's 
something harder to get a common UI on several platforms so that we keep 
image portability... Such tentatives often lead to more restricted look and 
feel. With these constraints, VW is not a bad trade of after all...

On the other hand, i do not see much killing apps having the oldies ST-80 
look. Squeak has kept its freedom, but so far, this did not lead us very 
high... It is just a banner, a proof that Smalltalk is something different...

Finally the good side is that, in Smalltalk, we have the possibility to 
emulate, plug native, or keep our own UI.
We have a problem of rich persons: choice!
That's also because we lost UI leadership in the 80's, that's a fact.
And I would like to be wrong...


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