[Pharo-users] [ann] gtdebugger in pharo 5.0

Ben Coman btc at openinworld.com
Sun Jan 10 09:08:49 EST 2016

On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 6:24 PM, Tudor Girba <tudor at tudorgirba.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> We are about to integrate in Pharo a new member of the Glamorous Toolkit:
> the GTDebugger. As this is a significant change that might affect your
> workflow, here is some background information to help you deal with the
> change.
> First, you should know that the change is not irreversible and it is
> easily possible to disabled the new debugger through a setting.

Can we do it the other way for Pharo 5 "Release"?  Keeping the existing
debugger as default and as desired people can enable GTDebugger.   I know
this limits exposure and slows uptake and feedback, but prior to this
announcement there has been *zero* community discussion of making this the
default.   I can't find the Pharo 5 roadmap/plan,  but I don't remember
GTDebugger being mentioned at all.   I worry how it looks to people
considering Pharo for big changes like this to be dropped out of the sky
without *public* forward *planning*.

A big UI change like this should happen *early* in a release cycle -
because then you have a *long* time for it to become stable for
documentation.   Even though Dimitris is keen, I can understand why its
disheartening for Stef.   I'd hope the way is to introduce such big changes
is as a technology preview and have the *default* match the recently
developed documentation.

Note my problem is only with the default for the Pharo 5 "Release", so it
could be default now to kick start its exposure and revert the default a
few weeks before the Pharo 5 Release. And its not like you lose a whole
year of feedback by not being default in Pharo 5 Release.  The
documentation using newcomers who are most likely to use Pharo 5 "Release"
probably wouldn't have the confidence (or care) to provide the feedback you
want anyway.  Many of those in the community who would normally provide
feedback will be follow Pharo 6 bleeding edge anyway, so they'll that won't
be stuck with the old debugger.  Making GTDebugger the default early in
Pharo 6 should still get plenty of feedback from those that usually

btw, I am looking forward to using it for myself.

cheers -ben

> However, please do take the time to provide us feedback if something does
> not work out for you. We want to know what can be improved and we try to
> react as fast as we can.
> A practical change comes from the fact that the variables are manipulated
> through a GTInspector, which makes it cheaper to maintain in the longer run.
> While the first thing that will capture the attention is the default
> generic interface, the real power comes from the moldable nature of the
> debugger. Like all other GT tools, GTDebugger is also moldable by design.
> This means that we can construct custom debuggers for specific libraries at
> small costs (often measured in a couple of hundred lines of code).
> Here is an introductory overview blog post that also includes some links
> for further reading:
> http://www.humane-assessment.com/blog/gtdebugger-in-pharo/
> Please let us know what you think.
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