Morphic 3 presentation at Smalltalks 2007

Laurence Rozier laurence.rozier at
Thu Jan 24 02:32:32 UTC 2008

On Jan 23, 2008 8:09 PM, Juan Vuletich <juan at> wrote:

> Hi Jason,
> Jason Johnson wrote:
> > On Jan 23, 2008 12:42 AM, Juan Vuletich <juan at> wrote:
> >
> >
> > You're the one who said Morphic isn't for the "average programmer". :)
> >
> Well, I said "I'm not doing Morphic 3 to suit the average programmer
> needs". That doesn't mean that Morphic isn't for the average programmer.
> It means that my objectives are not finding out what are the needs of
> the average programmer. I really don't know what they are. And I don't
> care too much.

To be clear I fully respect your free time and choices so if none of this
matters to you it's fine by me. I just think that when you say you are
working on Morphic 3.0 with the implication that it is the future of the
Squeak GUI you're inviting input.

There are a lot of "average programmers" who are very bright and motivated
people that happen to have other full time professions. What they want are a
set of rock-solid components they can use out of the box to code basic
interfaces - the list of Widgets/V
though 17 years old isn't far off the mark. The GUI builder in Widgets/V
left a lot to be desired - which is how/why it evolved into WindowBuilder,
but the components opened a new world of possibilities for "average
programmers". None of the current Squeak GUIs - Morphic, E-Toys or Tweak
provide these rock-solid components out of the box, but it seems like
Morphic 3.0 could as a matter of course. I like many of the ideas in Morphic
3.0 and don't see having a set of practical, core components as being in
conflict with them. In fact, I think they are complimentary in many respects
- they provide excellent test suites and broaden the base of testers which
always helps any GUI.


> >
> >> .
> >>
> >
> > Best link I've seen yet.  Thanks, I'm going through it.
> >
> Thanks!
> >
> >> Then pay more attention.
> >>
> >
> > Oh I do.  I read every message I see about Morphic on the list, trying
> > to see what it's "kill feature" is.
> >
> >
> Quoted alone, my phrase sounds rude. I apologize. I meant that Squeak
> itself is a great place to study and learn. I don't think the point is
> about a "kill feature". I think it is about flexibility and openness.
> I've never used C#, or anything but Smalltalk in the last 10 years, but
> I don't believe something like EnvelopeEditorMorph could be done with so
> little and simple code. Anyway, I might be wrong. If C# is so good, then
> why not use it? If its GUI framework and tools are that good, why not
> port them to Squeak?
> > I looked at that class and I saw a Morph containing a piano, a view on
> > a musical scale and a few menus. If I get time I may take a crack at
> > it in the C# or Dolphin environment because it seemed pretty straight
> > forward (and one always learns why it isn't in implementation :).
> >
> It also has actual envelopes you can grab with the mouse to modify the
> sound. If you can do something like that in C# or Dolphin, with as
> little code as in Morphic, please tell me, and let me see the code.
> >
> >> 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.
> >>
> >
> > Well, is that because it is the best way to do it, or because the
> > tools don't help us constructing the interfaces enough?
> I don't know, but if you have hope on "visual programming" I suggest
> using Parts in VisualWorks, or the VisualBuilder in VisualAge, write an
> application (without code, only arrows connecting objects), maintain it
> (i.e. modify it and keep it working) and find out for yourself if a
> better tool could make that way of programming useful.
> > Of course
> > building applications via code must be supported, but in a system
> > built in itself like Smalltalk, of course it will be.  I watched the
> > Self video and they seemed to be building some pretty interesting and
> > complicated things in a largely graphical way.
> >
> >
> >> I believe the whole
> >> "visual programming" idea failed for professional developers.
> >>
> >
> > That's a rather bold statement.  It depends again on how you're going
> > to define "professional developers" but if you define them as people
> > who get paid to program then I suspect that the vast majority of all
> > developers writing native GUIs are doing so in a mostly graphical
> > manner and have been for decades.
> >
> Decades? The first visual programming tools commercially available are
> about 15 years old. And most people build guis with gui builders, but
> almost nobody use visual programming tools. May be we are not speaking
> about the same, visual programming means defining the application
> behavior without code (not only the GUI, the model too). I say this idea
> failed, because (almost) nobody uses it, and tool vendors don't sell it
> as the future anymore.
> >
> >
> >> I don't think why would you think that. I really believe you need more
> >> reading and studying Squeak.
> >>
> >
> > Mainly because having read the tutorials and papers on Self and
> > Morphic from Sun's research web site, it seemed that Morphic gained a
> > lot of power from the object instance modification capabilities.
> > Since Smalltalk is a class based system you lose much of that (e.g.
> > adding a method ad-hoc to a morph you're working on).  The way one has
> > to do it in Smalltalk is by programatically generating classes, which
> > I dislike.  In Etoys, one programs at a higher level so it doesn't
> > matter so much how things are implemented at the lower levels you
> > don't see, but at the Smalltalk level it doesn't strike me as very
> > elegant.
> >
> I see. However, I don't agree. I think programming in Smalltalk by
> defining classes is both powerful and elegant.
> > And I'm sure you're right that I do need to read more.  Squeak is
> > quite vast with a great deal to learn.
> >
> >
> :)
> Cheers,
> Juan Vuletich
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