Squeak and the Internet

Dan Shafer dan at gui.com
Fri May 29 18:10:47 UTC 1998

Mark Guzdial wrote:
> >One place it seems to me that Squeak has some intriguing potential is in
> >the VM universe, where Java has kind of staked out the turf. There would
> >be some obvious advantages to a Smalltalk VM vs. a Java VM, not the
> >least of which is the relative maturity and completeness of the whole
> >Smalltalk world as evidenced by Squeak.
> >
> >The VM is clearly under 500K. What isn't clear to me is how much would
> >have to be added to the VM to create a browser-usable (applet-like) or
> >stand-alone, networkable application relying on the VM. Clearly that is
> >to some extent application-specific, but what is the general feeling of
> >the community?
> Squeak Central has already done a lot of thinking on this, so I'll let them
> tell that side of the story.
> Lex Spoon and I just got some pilot funding to explore creating a very
> small VM for Web executable code.  The practical problem that we're facing
> is having kids write code to distribute or to execute on a server.  Kids
> aren't usually trying to hack the system, but the code that they write
> often does cause severe "Denial of Access" errors.
> Our hypothesis is that the problem lies in providing a VM that can do
> everything.  Most people don't want to download word processors or
> spreadsheets.  Most Java applets do something much more simple -- maybe
> visualize some live data, maybe do a little simulation.  We think that we
> can produce a Squeak-based VM in which one can NOT do a word processor, but
> which we can guarantee no denial-of-service errors.
> Our brief proposal, for those who might be interested, is at
> http://guzdial.cc.gatech.edu/muswiki.html
> Mark
> --------------------------
> Mark Guzdial : Georgia Tech : College of Computing : Atlanta, GA 30332-0280
> (404) 894-5618 : Fax (404) 894-0673 : guzdial at cc.gatech.edu
> http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/people/Faculty/Mark.Guzdial.html


Interesting stuff. Creating applets in Squeak which run in a tiny VM on
the client is a really good idea and I think that your idea of focusing
on quashing common errors and issues rather than on broad functionality
is a good starting point. It will prove the concept at the same time.

How about the "other" kind of Web-based app, where the client has little
or nothing to download directly (perhaps only the VM and some thin
supporting layer stuff) and the code actually executes and resides on
the server?

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