Squeak Revisited

Using Squeak is imminent. So I might as well make the most of it. At first, the experience was horrendous. The syntax of SmallTalk itself is fine since I know both Objective-C and Ruby, both languages that derive themselves heavily from SmallTalk. The problem lies with Squeak itself. I found it almost impossible to control intuitively (read: meaning without reading some manual) on my PowerBook. After all, there is only ONE mouse button on my notebook!

I used Cincom VisualWorks before and it did not trouble me as much since there was some good introduction available. Not to mention the presence of toolbars so I did not need to bring up the contextual menu. But Squeak seems to have more plug-ins and multimedia stuff available. Also, Squeak will be used for the class that I am taking.

So to the rescue, are two very nicely written short articles.

By the way, the guy who wrote the second tutorial comes from Duke and was an intern at Fog Creek Software, which another of my favorite tech writers, Joel Spolsky, owns.

So if 2005 was the year that I learned LISP (and did not use it much in the end thanks to the fact that my A.I. class adopted Java!), 2006 will be the year that I learn SmallTalk. So far, what I really like about Smalltalk is how terse the language itself is. Also, I like the dynamic nature of the environment since any changes that are made, including installing new plug-ins, are immediately effective.

Still the potential for screwing the entire image is there since I am still not too familiar with how Squeak maintains different instances of itself. Different instances as in .image files and not a different project or workspace.

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