[Pharo-users] I am David Allouche, let me introduce myself.

David Allouche david at allouche.net
Wed Jan 13 12:29:05 EST 2016

Thank you everyone for the kind responses. I will answer some of the questions and suggestions here.

> To get faster to the intellectual stimulation, pick a task / project and start asking questions. And have fun :).

That is good advice, but right now I think I will just explore the system, review changes, and wait for the tasks to find me. There are already more things I want to do than I will probably every be able to accomplish :-)

> I think when people referring to Smalltalk refer to Smalltalk as the language or OOP itself, but thats only the tip of the iceberg, Pharo tries to stay true to vision of smalltalk creating the virtual enviroment where the user can easily create his or her own tools or modifying the existing ones, something that I feel no other language out there can emulate because they follow a non monolithic approach where there is a deep dichotomy between language, libraries and the environment itself. You could say that Smalltalk is the anti-Unix architecture , a great example of monolithic design that works great in practice yet its easy to modify and extend. 

The  fact Smalltalk the language cannot be taken in isolation from Smalltalk the environment became clear rather early on: reading the UPBE and other materials shows that the language itself does almost nothing: it cannot even define classes or packages. It is all part of the environment.

I have seen someone in another thread expressing the desire for namespaces. As a newcomer, I also feel that is something important and missing. But since one of the goals of Pharo is to produce an environment that can be understood by a single person, the lack of namespace might actually be a feature. Namespace are essential for languages like C++, designed for large projects, produced by large teams, where nobody understands the whole system. They embody an industrial approach to programming. In contrast, I have the impression that Smalltalk emphasises regularity to minimise system size, rather than modularity to manage system size, and that it embodies a craftsmanship approach.

Since I am just old enough to remember a time where computer systems could be understood by a single person, I find it an attractive idea to try and produce a modern system with that property.

> I can't remember who famous said something like "The only languages
> worth learning are the ones that changes the way you think about
> programming..."  and I found that with Smalltalk & Pharo.

I am familiar with that idea too. And most good languages provide that.

 One day I will have learn some language from the ML family. I choose Smalltalk because it clearly had such a strong influence on the thinking of people who have used it, I thought I could learn

> A good way to get your hands dirty is to review fixes submitted by others...
> https://pharo.fogbugz.com/default.asp?pgx=LF&ixFilter=45 <https://pharo.fogbugz.com/default.asp?pgx=LF&ixFilter=45>
> There are never enough hands there :)  (my own action here fluctuates
> from time to time)

I will try to spend some time reviewing code. That is a good way to get exposed to things one does not even know they exist.

> Did you look at Seaside?
> Since you should be able to read french there is  a nice tutorial: tinyBlog. In two days you can build a small web app
> with a mongo back end. 

I have no looked at Seaside yet, I have not even read the corresponding chapter in UPBE. But I certainly will, eventually. The web is an essential part of society today.

> Where are you located ?

Paris, France.

It did occur to me that the Pharo community does have a unusually large fraction of french people. But that is not a factor for me.

Thanks again for all the kind words. I am sure this journey is going to be a lot of fun. :-)

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