Morphic 3 presentation at Smalltalks 2007

Juan Vuletich juan at
Tue Jan 22 23:42:11 UTC 2008

Hi Jason,

Jason Johnson wrote:
> But by saying "this system is not built for the average
> programmer" sounds like "this system is not really relevant in the
> real world"/"this is an academic system".  The fact is, either Morphic
> is the state-of-the-art, best GUI developing system there is, or it's
> not.  
This sounds like advertising talk. I don't think there is well defined 
meaning for such words as "average programmer", "real world", 
"academic", "state-of-the-art", "best", etc. I prefer talking about 
actual ideas. I try to do that when I write.
> If you can't use it to build a standard GUI application rapidly,
> then I can't imagine what makes it better, or even as good as what we
> have today.
Well, many, including me, have written quite a bit on that. A lot has 
been talked at this list about the pink plane vs. blue plane tension, 
etc. You can start at .
> I'm not saying we should follow the lowest common denominator.  I
> truly believe that Smalltalk is a better system and leaps and bounds
> above other environments.  But if that is truly the case there should
> be some evidence of it.  It should *do* something better then other
> systems do.  In Smalltalk's case, for me the interactive nature of it
> is that evidence.  But in Morphic's case, I'm still looking.
Then pay more attention. Squeak already includes a lot of morphs that 
would be really hard to write in other language / environments. 
EnvelopeEditorMorph is one of my favorites.
> I want more then a GUI builder.  I want to graphically piece together
> a living application in a graphical manner.  I have used Dolphin, and
> I have to say that so far C# is closer to that vision then anything
> I've seen from Smalltalk yet.  C#'s "cult of the dead" nature is the
> main thing holding it back.  Since Smalltalk doesn't have that anchor
> I expect it to be more capable.
Well, I helped write an application that way in 1997 using VisualAge 
Smalltalk (now VA Smalltalk). Also VisualWorks and Visual Smalltalk 
supported or still support that way of programming. In my experience, 
and that of many others, code is much better at tackling real complex 
applications and at building a mainteinable system. I believe the whole 
"visual programming" idea failed for professional developers.
>> If you still believe the world needs another GUI builder, I see two
>> ways.
> It does because the existing ones are not good enough.  But how do you
> envision graphical applications being created?  By writing code that
> generates them?  How can we claim to have an advanced system when even
> C (!!!!!) had more efficient mechanisms years ago?
As I said, use WindowBuilder. I've been using it for about ten years 
now, in Visual Smalltalk. Take a look at (my 
employer). PetroVR is a pretty sophisticated and good looking software. 
I think WindowBuilder  is pretty good. Anyway, I don't think Squeak 
really needs something like that, because GUI builders only help on the 
easiest part of a GUI. The real complexity is in the dynamic behavior of 
the GUI, and on GUI elements that are not "widgets on a form". I write 
most of the PetroVR code for non widget-based GUIs. For these things, 
Smalltalk code is the best, and Morphic is much better than other 
frameworks I know.
> At some point I probably will work on a "next gen" GUI builder, but
> it's going to be a long time.  To be honest, I'm just trying to
> understand what's so great about Morphic.  So many people I respect
> (including you) think it is state-of-the-art so I'm hoping
> conversation will point me somewhere that explains why. 
Well, I gave some pointers. Most of the stuff at could be useful. Also read, the 
wikis, use google, etc. Besides, study the system. It's all there.
>  At this point
> it just looks to me like an idea that was great and made sense in Self
> that was shoe-horned in somewhere it didn't really fit.
I don't think why would you think that. I really believe you need more 
reading and studying Squeak.

Juan Vuletich

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