[squeak-dev] Smalltalk for small projects only?

Dale Henrichs dhenrich at vmware.com
Sat Jan 28 23:20:27 UTC 2012


For the types of project that would employ a team of 200, you need to be able to reliably reproduce the state of an image, from scratch, 5 years after development has completed ... 

I invite you to read Allen Wirfs-Brock's paper on "Declarative Smalltalk"[1]. Here are some excerpts:

  Smalltalk does not include the concept of a program as a distinct entity. In practice, 
  a Smalltalk program is the state of a virtual image when work is declared completed.

  Lack of a program definition in traditional Smalltalk environments leads to an undue 
  reliance on the virtual image. Images can become obsolete or broken. Because the program 
  is encoded in the image, the program is in danger of becoming inaccessible if the image 
  becomes outmoded or corrupt.

  The manual and unreliable nature of the initialization of Smalltalk programs leads to a 
  number of program errors. Especially prevalent after reconstruction of a program in a new 
  image are errors where program elements have an initial value of nil instead of some other 
  value as originally intended by the programmer.

  The use of a declarative specification model has little direct impact upon Smalltalk programmers. 
  Even though Smalltalk has traditionally been implemented using an imperative program description 
  model, the perception of most Smalltalk programmers is of a declarative model. This is because 
  Smalltalk programmers typically create and edit programs using a browser that presents the classes 
  that make up the program in a declarative style.

Disclaimer: I worked with Allen Wirfs-Brock in the nineties (engineer on the Team/V team) while he was developing his ideas for Declarative Smalltalk, so I am somewhat biased in my thinking:)

My opinion that being able to build images from scratch (easily and reproducibly) is a "requirement" to get in the door  for mainstream projects... giving mainstream developers the opportunity to work in a image-based environment will set them free:)


[1] http://www.smalltalksystems.com/publications/_awss97/SSDCL1.HTM

----- Original Message -----
| From: "karl ramberg" <karlramberg at gmail.com>
| To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list" <squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
| Cc: "VWNC" <vwnc at cs.uiuc.edu>, Pharo-project at lists.gforge.inria.fr
| Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:39:22 AM
| Subject: Re: [squeak-dev] Smalltalk for small projects only?
| On Sat, Jan 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM, Dale Henrichs < dhenrich at vmware.com
| > wrote:
| You are talking about dealing with source code, but what about the
| live objects in the image? Is there any work done on managing live
| images with several developers ? This is where Smalltalk excels and
| would be very interesting instead of falling back to the rebuild
| from source strategy.
| Karl

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