Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? Push for business application

Ron Teitelbaum Ron at
Wed May 17 13:58:50 UTC 2006

Hi Bill,

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Schwab
> Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:49 PM

> ====================
> Ron: A second issue is one of usability and business support.  
> We have had a
> number of people including myself trying to read and write files without
> understanding CrLfFileStream.  This is really an issue for me.  I
> suggested
> that we need to have a way to do aStringOrCollection writeToFile: aFile
> or
> aStringOrCollection readFromFile: aFile that should just work without
> having
> to know the ins and outs of the streams or any particular platform.  The
> response I got from the community was this is a language not an
> application
> and since we can support what needs to be done developers need to
> understand
> the tools.  If this is the case then we need a business squeak that
> supports
> applications not just tools, we need more support for processes and
> business
> protocols.
> ====================
> Bill: You might lose me here.  With respect, if you are trying to 
> avoid the
> stream I/O, then you need to do some more Smalltalk programming (streams
> will grow on you).  If you are looking for better support for platform
> independence, then I am not the best person to help you.

Ron: To be clear here I've been writing production applications for 20
years.  One of the major benefits of smalltalk is the ability to take
complicated structures and simplify them.  Small helper methods help to
improve the productivity of programmers, they can help to show proper
implantation and even help to highlight platform issues.  String (or
Collection) >> writeToFile: or writeToFileUsingBlock: aBlock are very useful
and are much easier to remember then having to know about CrLfFileStream and
it seems to me that I should not have to know what platform I'm writing for
to get a file written.  There are other very useful helper methods like
copyToClipboard that would help application developers.  I understand the
language focus but I'm supporting a more application friendly focus.

> ====================
> Ron: EDI, ASN.1, Cryptography, Workflow, Reporting, Bluetooth,
> personally I would like to see support for X12, HL7, NCPDP...  We should
> have preBuilt applications that can be used or modified that can solve
> real
> world business problems.
> ====================
> Bill: HL7 is a world of its own.  Which version of the spec? Which
> information system's dialect?   It gets ugly in a hurry.  Cryptography
> is pretty basic and should be well supported.  I get the sense the
> Croquet will address it, and hopefully it can be folded back into
> Squeak.  IIRC, I grabbed and tested a public key implementation that
> worked nicely.


Ron: The answer to the HL7 question is all of the versions that I need to
support.  I believe that by providing tools that help the medical industry
we may be able to attract that industry.  I am currently working on a very
large project which will help.  

The cryptography pieces in my opinion need to be done in open source to even
be considered.  I am currently working on cryptograph frameworks and our
cryptography group is looking at the
Complete Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) through the OpenSSL
Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Certification Process.  I
firmly believe that for us to progress and gain acceptance we need to take
this process very seriously and provide a system that inspires confidence in
business and reduces the risk of adoption.

> ====================
> Ron: We should be encouraging web hosts to offer
> Seaside and provide applications that run on it.
> ====================
> Bill: No argument.  However, I doubt the market is large enough to 
> justify a
> sysop's learning the ropes, and they will be worried about "one more
> process" chewing up memory, CPU time, and providing a hook for hackers.
> I would like to be proven wrong, but I doubt the idea will get traction
> for those reasons.
Ron: I believe that the lack of open source applications is the problem.
Once there are a number of valuable applications developed in Seaside, which
are freely available, sysops will support them.  Powerful freely available
applications that solve real world problems (like properly supporting
continuations) will entice hosts that are looking to increase market share.

It's very nice to meet you Bill; maybe in the future we can work together.

Ron Teitelbaum
President / Principal Software Engineer
US Medical Record Specialists
Ron at 
Squeak Cryptography Team Leader
Squeak News Team Member
Squeak Elections Team Member
Squeak Representative with The Software Freedom Law Center

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