[Pharo-users] Exploring Pier

Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas offray at riseup.net
Tue Oct 13 13:20:10 EDT 2015

Hi Jimmie,

On 05/10/15 09:16, Jimmie Houchin wrote:
> Hello Offray,
> My apologies for the delay in reply. I have been on holiday.

No problem. I'm not as proactive as I would like on this community. I'm 
trying to gain time/knowledge to contribute more, but there are pending 
answers from me on interesting topics, so thanks for taking your time to 
answer. I have grouped your answer in two parts: Pharo related and other 
tools related. More comments below.

> Thanks for the suggestions. I am pretty much wanting to stick with 
> Pharo solutions. I want to use and contribute to the Pharo ecosystem.
> I believe the more we use our own tools and contribute toward the 
> ecosystem the better our tools and the ecosystem will be. In Pharo I 
> can possibly offer an occasional bug fix, contribute to documentation 
> or tests.
> In Pharo I have Pharo/Smalltalk. Even a simple user can often 
> contribute in simple ways. Even as a simple user of a Pharo tool. I 
> can submit issues, fix simple issues, improve method or class 
> comments, etc. As I learn the Pharo tools and ecosystem I continually 
> improve my ability to take care of myself and also contribute to the 
> community. I think Pharo is the most user empowering environment I 
> have found. 

I agree with you. I share your vision of Smalltalk as the most 
empowering environment I have used. First time we meet (vía EToys, 
Scratch, BotsInc) I felt in love, but weren't ready for each other and 
took almost 10 years and Pharo to bring me back (kind of a bittersweet 
love story). I'm a simple user, but in this last year after returning 
back I have made stuff I just thought/dream about in other environments. 
Still a lot of things to learn and rookie code and practice, but I'm 
improving faster that in any other environment, despite of having not as 
much time to practice as I would like. Even prototyping is faster... a 
lot faster.

I want to help Pharo too, by making it talk better with other/external 
ways of thinking/practicing computing. For example, after my talk with 
Serge about IPtyhon/Jupyter and Grafoscopio (my learning project) it was 
clearer to my that interactive documentation and data visualization was 
being bridged with objects via scripting (thanks to embedded playground 
in the document tree). So you can start thinking in a more "emergent 
way": documents and scripts instead of a hierarchy of objects and 
messages, and then go from your scripts in documents to more objectual 
forms as you clear your mind about the problem. This practice/thinking 
was far away ten years ago for grown ups in Etoys, BotsInc, as also 
happened with documentation (they happen elsewhere and not inside the 

> And yes, the other solutions do offer that as well as they are open 
> source. But the bar is much higher. I now have to understand their 
> ecosystems, languages, and development cultures of a variety of tools.
> Sure I can find lots and lots of other quality tools in other 
> languages. But each is their own island. And depending on how broadly 
> I spread the net. Different languages, different cultures, different 
> licenses, all independent of each other.
> I much prefer the Pharo ecosystem and culture. It is home.
> I know others who like the other tools, and multiplicity of choice. 
> And they feel comfortable there.

I prefer Pharo too. I have felt the "red pill" effect talked several 
times in the Pharo/Smalltalk culture. You just need to enter the matrix 
sometimes to awake others :-), which means that you share their reality 
for a while to teach them you can bend the rules or have super powers 
after taking the red pill. But you need to enter the matrix to offer 
them the red pill. My way to enter the matrix and made that offer is via 
interactive documentation, scripting and data visualization, because 
this juncture appeals a lot of people beyond programmers (like myself).

The way I want to use to evade the complexities of other technologies, 
idiosyncrasies and cultures is try to talk only with the backend 
(storage formats/schemas) and frontend (these days mostly html). But I 
want to use what I already have and know to make that bridge. Put 
Pharo/Smalltalk in the existing practices and technologies in a 
symbiotic approach (or something like the assimilation of of star trek's 
cyborgs, until "resistance is futile", to follow with SciFi images :-) 
).  I have blogged recently about a specific case for this approach here:


> Choice is nice. Pharo is mine.

:-)+3 to follow Sthepharo and Doru.

> Thanks again for suggestions and for a view on how others approach 
> problems and their solutions. That is always available as inspiration 
> even within Pharo. I take a look at your stuff.

Nice to help.



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