The Weekly Juan #4: "Smalltalk, Direct Manipulation and End User Programming"

Juan Vuletich juan at
Sat Nov 11 03:29:04 UTC 2006

Hi Jecel,

Jecel Assumpcao Jr escribió:
> Please free feel to use it - that was the purpose of me posting this
> here. 
> Speaking of the motives behind the various Squeak GUIs, Offray
> Vladimir Luna Cárdenas mentioned today on #squeak this interview with
> Andreas Raab about Tweak that is very worth reading:
I don't agree with many of the ideas expressed there. But I don't want 
to start a useless discussion. I'll just continue with Morphic ideas. 
It's good to have options.
>> My idea was to be objective. Clearly that phrase was completely 
>> subjective. Thanks for pointing it out. I removed it.
> You can be subjective in your own pages if you like. I was just very
> curious since my own Neo Smalltalk design is even more extreme than Self
> and it would be nice to know what problems people have with this kind of
> system.
Sure. But this time I didn't want to. I don't like mixing facts with 
opinions without making clear the difference. BTW, I'd like to know more 
about Neo Smalltalk! Is it available for Windows or Linux?
>> Well, I don't know many Self programmers. In addition to John's opinion 
>> (crucial for me), I have a good friend who worked a couple of years on 
>> an application written in NewtonScript.
> Note that NewtonScript is a cross-development system, which makes it
> feel very different from a native development environment independently
> of any other of its features. Just try something like PocketSmalltalk or
> Resilient to see what I meant.
Yes. You're right.
>> He felt the same as John: the 
>> browser is a great way to organize code.
> I agree. But to repeat what I said before, as we move to a more modular
> and open system we will lose Squeak's "show me everything" features. The
> system browser will only show you want you happen to have loaded in this
> particular image, not something that is on SqueakMap; sending
> #allInstances doesn't let you see stuff that might live in some project
> you haven't loaded yet and so on. This future can't be avoided and it
> would be a good idea for our tools to adapt to this new reality.
That's true too. But today, I work on a single Smalltalk environment, 
and that's ok.
>> Besides, code based development 
>> (i.e. not relying on the assembly of objects in a certain image) eases 
>> team work and version tracking.
> Here I must strongly disagree. Back in 1997 I had two trainees working
> for me and doing some simple Self programming. Given that you can open
> more than one window on the same Self world and the cross computer
> features of the X Window system, they would sit at two different
> workstations on the same room (but with voice chat they could have been
> very far away with the same effect) and engaged in very intense pair
> programming (a bit different from how the Agile folks do it). Unless you
> had seen it yourself it is hard for you imagine how much fun this was
> and how productive they were (not counting crashes - the system should
> have been a bit more robust). All this using live objects.
> Sure, this is a total pain if you depend on CVS. But this is like saying
> Mac text files are totally useless just because you have to edit them
> with Notepad.exe. Don't confuse the limitations of your current tools
> with inherent limitations of a certain style of development.
What you describe is really coll. But I used the wrong words. "Team 
work" is not specific enough. I meant "merging the work of different 
people into a single consistent construct". I also think that code 
(thinking more on change sets or an Envy like system than CVS) helps 
tracking versions and comparing them. I don't know of any such tools for 
Self, but as you say, this doesn't mean they can't be done.
>> Now I have a third opinion: yours. You don't agree with them, so today I 
>> would say "Some programmers believe...". Anyway, as I said above, I took 
>> it off. This article is not about my opinion.
> I am always willing to change my mind, and so like to know why people
> don't agree with me. Sometimes they know something that I don't, though
> often it is the other way around (somebody who thinks static typing is
> better than dynamic, for example, but has only programmed in C++ and
> Java). See the comment about image based environments at the end of
> to see what I mean.
I looked there. Sad.
I'd love to have some real experience with Self. But unfortunately I 
don't see that happening any time soon.
> Anyway this is all just a very tiny detail and your article was very
> good even with that comment.
> -- Jecel
Thank you.
Juan Vuletich

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