Friday, July 06, 2007

Crabs In The Pot

My good friend, Steve Wessels, wrote an excellent tutorial on Squeak development that shows how to use all of the tools while showing off what Smalltalk coding is like. I simply love it. But, I was shocked when I read Ramon Leon's comments on Steve's tutorial. While I agree that Squeak could use a marketing image overhaul, we sorely need more tutorials like Steve's. My gut instinct to Ramon's comments was, "this is like a crab trying to escape the pot, the other crabs will drag him back". Steve put a lot of work in the tutorial and it shows. Sure, he could have used all the nice add-ons, but it was meant to show developers "how to fish". Once they know the basics, then they will have enough knowledge to install those add-ons.

I feel Smalltalkers should stop complaining (about bad marketing, java, ruby, whatever) and start doing. Steve took a bold step forward and I applaud him for that. We need to have more doers and less complainers. So, if you feel marketing of Smalltalk is not up to par, do something! I started a user's group here in Omaha to get interest in dynamic languages. It's been growing larger and larger. The user group has gotten a lot of people interested not only in Smalltalk, but Lisp as well. But, I know I could do more. Steve is an inspiration and incredibly enthusiastic. If we want people to join us, we need to support the group we have now. Feedback is good and welcome, but if you feel you can do better....Well, then DO!

I didn't mean for this come out like I'm being harsh on Ramon. I don't want that. I love Ramon's writing and by having a blog, he is doing. But, I think we need to be reminded our community is small and we need to support one another. If Squeak is ugly, let's do something about it!

I wonder who will write the next tutorial on how to make Squeak look awesome? Whoever it is rock on! And I hope Steve does more tutorials, the laser game is too much fun. It shows how playful and curious Smalltalkers are and that's a great thing.


Unknown said...

blaine: While I understand with your gut reaction about Ramons comments, he motivated me to try out the dev image he spoke about. And I am glad that he did. The extra features bundled with the dev image are excellent and I might not have found them otherwise. In fact, I am now following Steve's awesome tutorial in the dev image.

So I think that we need room for people to complain when they feel the need. I am glad that Steve worked so hard on that tutorial! But I am also glad that Ramon shared his mind and maybe is the beginning of a concensus and rally to make squeak shine. who knows. we are all in this together, crabs in the same pot!

Ramon Leon said...

Yea, I thought I might have come off sounding a bit harsh, I was wary about posting it, but I felt it needed to be said.

The tutorial is awesome, and obviously took a lot of work, I even gave him props in the post.

But that effort might well go to waste if the pictures scare new programmers away rather than making them want to try it out, and I feel that's exactly what happens when people see ugly images.

Geert Claes said...

I am with Leon here. With Squeak's current look and feel it'll be almost impossible to impress anyone what Squeak programming is like. Squeak needs to address the usability and look and feel issues first before people will be interested in tutorials like Steve's.