Configuring a Dynabook

Jonathan A. Smith jsmith at
Sun Dec 13 05:54:10 UTC 1998

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael S. Klein [mailto:mklein at]
> Sent: Saturday, December 12, 1998 3:28 PM
 . . .
> I was talking about this topic to a friend (the most impressive
> Smalltalker
> I know), and his response made me think.  He said:
> 	Anybody can learn to write a one page program.
> 	A ten page program.... that's harder.
> 	A hundred page program...

The Squeak system is a program with a whole lot of pages.  Lets call that
number a zillion. If I write a one page Smalltalk program am I in effect
writing a program with a zillion and one pages?

The real issue, of course, is both:

1.  How connected are the parts of the program.  Say, for example, I write a
hundred page program where each page is completely independent of all the
others.  That is no harder than writing one hundred one page programs.

2.  How are the parts of the program connected.  For example using the
Smalltalk library (with its well defined, consistent interface) is really
not so hard even if it does amount to a lot of code.

We haven't really solved the whole problem of course.  What I am trying to
say, however, is that the problem is not without potential solutions.

One approach is to create an environment where the programmer has such
expressive and safe tools at her disposal so that she will rarely need to
write a large program all at once.  Another part of the solution might be to
build software tools to help suggest and manage the connections between
software components.

The issue is also social.  Software (like Squeak) is made more reliable and
develops in interesting ways because it is the product of a community of
people who care and use it every day.  The community, not just the tool, is
a vital and necessary part of any solution.


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