Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More On Tools

Friedrich had this to say about my Tools post:

I wrote about this on the Squeak mailing list and I guess somewhere else also. I asked for decent editor written for Squeak, AFAIKT such a thing does not exist. But does that mean that Smalltalks are not good for programming an editor? And if no-one sees that this would be good thing, am I expected to step in?

First off, I could give the quick flippant Smalltalker response and say, "If you need a text editor that can handle large chunks of text, then you're doing something wrong." But, I'm not. Sure, we don't need to handle large chunks in coding for Smalltalk, but the world is a different place now. The need is there. Today we need to handle XML documents, source from other languages, HTML, and that's just a start. But, an editor that can handle large amounts of code and makes it easier for new Smalltalkers to get them into the swing of things so to speak.

Secondly, the Smalltalk community might not know they need it. Write it! If anything you might deficiencies through the exercise and decide to fix those as well. I wrote a Java Serialization framework to learn its format, but to fix bad streams as well. Nobody wanted it, but me. You got to do things for yourself and for your own journey as a developer. If you need any help, feel free to contact me. But, don't expect any community to follow along. The best you can hope for is to make the music and hope other people like the melody to join in.


Friedrich said...

Well just so much, if you would give me the Smalltalk answer then I would say. "You can not use Smalltalk to handle text". Just the fact is that you need text all over the place. Everything is text in the end. So if one used computer you need good tools for just "handling text". Now let's see Emacs is not around for 20 - 30 years and it's there for handling text. And it even can be programmed to handle even more or different structured text. I can use it for everything, I can write my mail in it I can use it for all kind of programming languages, I can read my news in it etc etc.

Nothing in the Unix world is that combined. Does that mean Emacs is the "best". Well I guess the vi people would be quite uneasy to hear that. In Smalltalk the things are not that integrated. Of course I can have a Mail reader of News reader, but in comparison to Emacs every tool lacks extremly in the "text handling" area.

Does that mean it won't work. No it just means that nobody is interested in it. And that's the difference to let's say Eclipse or Emacs. Eclipse is programmable in Java, Emacs in Emacs Lisp and I can do any sort of programming of Smalltalk in Smalltalk environments. Just Smalltalkers seem to find it much mor appealing to have every sort of Windows open, browsers, transcript,method finder etc. But a few simple things which just work elswhere do not work in Smalltalks that way (I'm talking mainly about Squeak here)
1) Something like "normal" GUI-Builder - no
2) a serious editor component - no
3) finding help to some topic is very uncomfortable. I have to click here and there just to find some comment

Well agreed there's not GUI-Builder for Emacs but there's alway M-x apropos around, what do I have to do in Squeak? Opening a Method finder and hopefully find the proper window soon. Now in every other IDE I often have F1, just type in in MSVC and you got the docs of a function.

And not I can not see why that should not be possible in the Smalltalks also. You wrote just write it yourself. Well let me ask me back. How long would it take, a few years!!!

For what? I just can use the Emacs and save this years of development.

For me it seems Smalltalkers just write what they like but do not bother making it accessible to others then. So we do not have one browser, but at least a dozen different ones in Squeak, plus a lot of other things like method finder etc, and everything has to be run differently. Are there any things we are used to in any OS? Something like Menus at the top? No
they are somewhere on some mouse button. I could overcome that if I were willing to spend my time on "adjusting" it but it's not worth it, it's simply too much I like to change and with all respect nothing deserves the name of some documentation to understand Squeak


James T. Savidge said...

You wrote: “...Secondly, the Smalltalk community might not know they need it. Write it!...”

Well, to a certain extent I did.

Several years ago I made some
extensions to the VisualWorks text editor, but I haven’t ported them to the latest version. (I had been waiting until Pollack.)

Would my enhancements be of any use to you or your readers?

James T. Savidge, Sunday, February 17, 2008