Whither Squeak?

Ralph Johnson johnson at cs.uiuc.edu
Fri May 19 14:37:07 UTC 2006

On 5/19/06, Cees De Groot <cdegroot at gmail.com> wrote:
>  the tools have
> performance problems when trying to manage the whole image.

Can you be specific?  What tools?  Can you give stories of how tools failed you?

> On a more philosophical stance, Squeak has grown organically. And
> anything organic tends to get fuzzy, maybe even almost fractal,
> borders between the various parts. Try separating a leaf from its
> stem, on the cell level, for starters...

Squeak is a bit more extreme than others, but not a lot.  As Fred
Brooks said, all successful large systems started as successful small
systems.  Organic growth is typical, not atypical.  Refactoring is a
lot of hard work and Squeak doesn't have people being paid to do this
kind of work.  But I find it hard to believe that Squeak is worse than
Word, or Gnu EMACS, or any other large system that has been around for
a long time.  The difference is that Microsoft pays people a lot of
money to modularize Word.  It goes though periods of organic growth,
and then periods of modularization as they try to reuse code across
projects or within Word.  Most software does this.

This is why I think modularizing Squeak is an interesting project,
because we can learn lessons from it that will apply to all software.
So, we need to write about what we are doing, the problems we
discover, and the lessons we learn.

Squeak hasn't needed to be modular enough for people to do the work to
make it so.  Now it does.  (Well, it probably has for several years,
so "now" means "the last few years".)

-Ralph Johnson

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