[Squeakland] Squeak first impressions and a couple questions

Kim Rose kim.rose at squeakland.org
Fri Nov 3 08:26:52 PST 2006

Hi, Jeff -

Welcome!  Reading your email indicates to me you have a somewhat 
technical background with programming languages and given such you 
might find a good community of colleagues through the "Squeak-dev" 
list  - subcribed to via the "Squeak.org" website.

While I'd encourage you to "stick around this list" and participate 
in dicsussions, this list is read primarily by teachers, parents, 
technology coordinators, computer clubhousers, curriculum creators, 
etc.  People on this list wouldn't generally be familiar with things 
like Glade, WXSqueak or Seaside...(I think you'll find more of them 
off "Squeak-dev".)

cheers and happy Squeaking,

>Hello all! :)
>I'm a squeak newbie and pretty much a newbie to programming as a 
>whole. I've explored a little bit of a variety of languages, but 
>never really got serious about any of them because I always had the 
>impression that I would have to invest a great deal of time and 
>effort into studying them before I could use them to do anything 
>useful. This is an unfortunate thing for someone who really does 
>want to, (and sometimes "needs" to), do some programming. 
>Additionally, the languages I've looked at have always given me the 
>impression that even after learning them creating simple programs 
>from them would be a very time consuming process. This might be fine 
>for people who want to BE PROGRAMMERS, but what I want is to HAVE 
>WORKING PROGRAMS. (Bold there is for emphasis, I'm really not 
>shouting at you all :)
>So anyway, after exploring and doing short tutorials in a lot of 
>languages, (c, C++, perl, ruby, java, php, Visual Basic, Basic), I 
>finally found squeak. This is the first one that I've really liked 
>at first glance. Why, you ask? Well, the first thing I loved about 
>it was that I was able to make a race car move around the screen 
>very quickly and now I know how to do it again in under 5 minutes if 
>I want to. But after I got over how cool that is and did a little 
>more sober reflection, (as well as searching the web to find out 
>what all there is to squeak), I started to appreciate it even more. 
>For one thing I don't know of any other language in which you can 
>modify an active script during runtime. Secondly morphic programming 
>seems very cool. I haven't fully got the hang of it yet, but it 
>looks like it has a lot of potential. Third, I was pleasantly 
>surprised to see some of the tools that have been included in 
>squeak, such as the painting program and wonderland. I'm also happy
>to see the projects that are in the works, and I look forward to 
>using completed version of croquet and squeakNOS in the future.
>On the downside, as I think others mention a lot I'd like to see 
>more and better documentation. Most of the tutorials I've found on 
>the web I have been unable to make work, and I believe it is because 
>they were written using an earlier version of squeak. Also the pages 
>I've opened with Scamper aren't being rendered properly. The only 
>other real downside I see at the moment is that some of the projects 
>I wish were complete aren't finished yet. Actually there is one 
>other one, and that's that it, (or the "e-toys" part of it? I'm not 
>sure exactly what the definition of etoys even is yet, is that just 
>whatever you make with the prepackaged morphs?), appears to be 
>marketed as if it were just for kids. I don't know why that's the 
>case. Comparing making the race car in squeak, (e-toys?) versus 
>doing so in another language reminds me of comparing running a 
>computer on DOS versus running one with an OS that uses a GUI. These 
>easy to conceptualize and use drag-and-drop, point-and-click
>interfaces might be arguably childish, but I don't know too many 
>adults running DOS machines right now.
>After having played around with squeak for about a week, I do have a 
>few questions, if anyone would be kind enough to answer them.
>1. When creating a new morph, how do you get it to appear in the 
>flaps registry?, ( I managed to successfully create a read only text 
>morph by copying the textmorph class and removing the 
>HandlesKeystroke method, but I don't know how to get it into the 
>supplies flap. )
>2. I figured out how to get my race car to react to keystrokes, but 
>I'd like to get it to react to keys that are still down. In other 
>words, when I keep holding the up arrow after hitting the left 
>arrow, I want it to continue accelerating without me needing to hit 
>the up arrow again. Is there a way to script "KeyBeingHeldDown" or 
>something like that?
>3. While playing around with text entries, I managed to get scripts 
>to fire based on the text's last character... unless that character 
>is the enter key. I tried <cr> for carriage return, and other 
>variations to represent that, to no avail. How can I start a script 
>from a person hitting enter after typing a command in the text field?
>4. I did see an older version of squeak that used a buttonbar in 
>which morphs could be placed on little squeak logos which would then 
>act as creators of those morphs. Was that removed, and if so why?
>5. Are there any plans to make some standard morphs for widgets such 
>as those which come with Glade or WXWidgets? I know about WXSqueak, 
>but I'm wondering if there are plans to make those kinds of windows, 
>listboxes, etc. as morphs, so that I can create and manipulate them 
>in the same way I do with all the other morphs. I understand that 
>it's unlikely that such morphs would look "native", but I believe 
>that is an overrated concern. Whether the aesthetics match my 
>windows theme, Mac, Unix, etc. defaults is not concerning to me. I 
>just want them to function in the same way.
>6. On that same note, any good tutorials for WXSqueak that work with 
>Squeak 3.8? (I did manage to get it installed through squeakmap, and 
>the system browser shows a lot of WXwidgets packages, classes, etc. 
>so I believe I did it right, but I have no idea how to use it.)
>7. Also, is there a tutorial for Seaside that works with Squeak 3.8?
>Julio :)
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>Make My Way  your home on the Web - http://www.myway.com
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