[squeak-dev] Re: [Pharo-dev] The Dilemma: Building a Futuristic GUI for Ephestos

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 21:31:17 UTC 2014

On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM, Chris Muller <asqueaker at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM, Esteban A. Maringolo
> <emaringolo at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 2014-09-16 14:37 GMT-03:00 Sebastian Sastre <
> sebastian at flowingconcept.com>:
> >
> >> Well, a while ago in the business list I’ve raised the idea that making
> >> Pharo able to do native OS windows would help it to gain market space
> (as in
> >> the opposite of staying at the margins of it).
> >>
> >> So, I’d be very positively curious about being able to use Pharo to do
> >> multiplatform native apps
> >
> > The trend is shifting to mobile devices, iOS and Android are eating
> > the whole market. So if it is about the potential market size, native
> > mobile (tablets/phones/TVs) should come as the first option, before
> > desktop.
> +1.  Desktop apps are "dead" aren't they?  I'm doubtful that native
> windows would help Smalltalk's popularity, as evidenced, I guess, by
> the fact VA and VW have supported them for a long time; did they take
> over the world yet?
> > For development, native windows could prove very useful.
> How so?  For me, one of the worst aspects of trying to develop in
> VisualAge or VisualWorks *is* the multiple host windows.  It makes it
> virtually impossible to work in more than one image, and reinforces
> the "grand cathedral" thinking about Smalltalk; e.g. you're not
> supposed to want or need anything outside your one, true, image.
> Dinosaur!
> I constantly work in multiple images, not only for separate projects
> but for the ability to quickly and easily fork images for multicore
> processing on the same project.  Other times simply to try something
> temporary and possibly dangerous.  The memory isolation is critical
> for productivity, the UI isolation for usability, and the multi-core
> capability for performance.
> I think we should focus on how to move to more and smaller
> intercommunicating images rather than one big image.  I understand its
> appeal for _deploying_ an off-the-shelf desktop app, but I'm not aware
> of any other use-cases where multiple host windows would be preferable
> to one host window per image.

That all makes sense from an experienced Smalltalker's POV.  But for people
exploring the technology the lack of native windows is usually a huge
turn-off and often reason to reject the technology.  The nice thing about
Vassili's work is that it allows one to have *both*, without losing window
state, and one can switch dynamically, and, IIRC, mix both, e.g. for
development.  So it isn't an exclusive choice.

Re VisualWorks' support for native windows it was an essential component to
VW staying in the market-place.  If it hadn't supported native windows it
would have died the commercial death long ago.  Pre-web, one /had/ to have
native windows for industry, and now with mobile native look and feel is
even more important.  Further, VWs huge lack in its GUI was lack of support
for native widgets.  We always used to tout MSWord's use of emulated
widgets (apparently for performance reasons) as a defence but it didn't
convince. The customer was always provided with poor emulations and a
limited supply.  IMO, native widgets would have made a big difference in
hwo well-received VW was for GUI applications, where those using Windows
could always turn to VSE.

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