New Squeak Porting Proposals

John.Maloney at John.Maloney at
Thu Aug 19 05:10:06 UTC 1999


> PocketSmalltalk is an impressive achievment, but it is better thought
> of as a traditional language compiler for producing stand-alone
> applications than as a development system like Squeak.  That
> PocketSmalltalk uses Smalltalk as it's base language is (of course)
> great, but it is more of a "cross compiler" like many
> embedded systems development tools.
>                                   -Dean Swan

I totally agree. PocketSmalltalk is a very cool achievment!

It was probably the only way to get Smalltalk running on
device with the contraints of the original Pilot. Andrew
and Eric did some very creative things to make it as tiny
as possible (e.g., going back to using 16-bit OOPs and
an object table and using integers as message selectors).
They also had to deal with the Pilot OS's memory manager,
which won't give you a contiguous chunk of memory larger
than a certain size (32K, I think).

If I wanted to write Pilot applications in Smalltalk, I
think PocketSmalltalk is absolultely the way to go. Since
I can't imagine looking at or editing code on a screen
that tiny, I'm glad that they omitted the development
environment. But in most important respects, the
Pocket ST runtime system is a full-blown Smalltalk VM.

When you move to other pen-based computer form factors,
such as the Clio, the eMate, or the Newton, there is enough
screen real estate to become interesting, and there is also
usually more memory and processing power. For such machines,
Squeak may be a better starting point. It's nice to have
both PocketSmalltalk and Squeak to choose between and it's
fabulous that they are both free, open source systems.

	-- John

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