[Pharo-project] New IDE alternative (was Misc. newbie questions)

Gerry Weaver gerryw at compvia.com
Mon Jan 16 00:38:44 EST 2012

Hi Jimmie,

Good stuff!! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply to my post. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Thanks Again,

-----Original Message----- 
> From: "Jimmie Houchin" <jlhouchin at gmail.com> 
> To: pharo-project at lists.gforge.inria.fr 
> Date: 01/15/12 19:44 
> Subject: Re: [Pharo-project] New IDE alternative (was Misc. newbie questions) 
> On 1/15/2012 6:55 AM, Gerry Weaver wrote:
> > Hi Andreas,
> >
> >> I am not comfortable with the idea to write parts of an application in
> >> different languages.
> >> Typically the disadvantages overweigh the advantages to do so as you
> >> would have different languages and systems to master and update.
> >> Interoperability with other systems and languages should be easy and
> >> Squeak/Pharo are still lacking in this area. This is well known and
> >> hopefully there will be some improvements in the future.
> >
> > I guess I would have to disagree with you here. Most of the editors and
> > IDEs of other languages are not maintained by the language proper. There
> > are many editors and IDEs that support many languages in addition to the
> > one they are written in. I think the benefits of using a full featured
> > GUI toolkit to create an IDE would be significant.
> And I have to disagree with you here. You lack the imagination and 
> knowledge to understand the significant advantage of having a single 
> language, environment and toolset that Smalltalk provides.
> >> Planning to give up on parts like GUI is a bad idea in my opinion.
> >> Smalltalk would be even more niche than it is now. I want to be able to
> >> build complete applications without the need to build parts in another
> >> language.
> >
> > In theory I would agree with you. However, I wasn't able to come up with
> > an application scenario where the Pharo GUI would work. Either the
> > widget set and OS integration are too limited or performance is a
> > problem. For example, the last several applications I have done needed
> > to display PDF files. I have done a little testing with Pharo and I'm
> > sorry to say the results were not very encouraging. The problem I think
> > is one of limited resources. I think that maybe trimming some things
> > would render more progress on the core. Perhaps a good and complete
> > binding to one of the current GUI toolkits would be easier to maintain.
> > You would also get the instant advantage of everything the toolkit had
> > to offer (including performance). A more robust FFI would inevitably be
> > realized as a result.
> Again, I think you lack imagination. You are stuck in box built by all 
> your previous tools and experience. And from your box you are trying to 
> look at Smalltalk and trying to shape it to your experience and thusly 
> declaring its deficiencies. This does not make Smalltalk wrong.
> Most of us here like the Smalltalk experience. We like the language. We 
> like the image. Are there issues that we would like to overcome? Of 
> course. Outside of interfacing with the outside world being made easier, 
> I don't think you are really addressing those issues. Instead, your are 
> creating issues we don't have. And many of us find many things we can do 
> living in our world and slowly working on what our world can access.
> If you want to mold Pharo into the image that you think it should be. 
> Please feel free to do so. It is open source. Fork it and make it so. We 
> would even help where we are able. But you are going outside of the 
> vision and worldview of this community and most any Smalltalk community.
> Cincom, Gemstone, or any of the other commercial Smalltalks have 
> reasonable success despite all the deficiencies you have discovered.
> And if you decide that Smalltalk doesn't fit your worldview. That is ok. 
> Find the tool that fits you. Be productive with it. And if you want to 
> create what you think is a better way with what you learn from 
> Smalltalk. Go for it.
> As far as GUI. I like ours. I think it can be improved greatly. But I 
> like access to it as part of my environment.
> What is a standard UI? Who set this standard? Why is QT standard? or 
> WxWidgets or ...? Look at the most used apps out there. Are they using 
> native standard UI? I don't think so. iTunes is a hugely used app. Is it 
> standard UI? No. Apple Mail? Safari? Windows Media player? No these 
> things are used by most of the computing world and they don't even use 
> the normal standard native UI of their platform. And they are all ugly.
> Is Facebook standard? Web apps are used all the time.
> Who says what is standard. And is what is standard today, what we should 
> strive for? Or can we work towards a better future.
> I use all kinds of applications which do not meet your standard of being 
> a native standard UI. But I use them. Why? Because they provide the 
> abilities to do what I want or need. Not because they meet any 
> particular standards as defined by nameless potentially clueless people.
> So more than meeting any particularly defined standard of UI, what is 
> required is than an application be compelling. If it is not, then no 
> matter how standards compliant it will meet with little receptiveness.
> Is Eclipse, Netbeans, Vi, Emacs standard. Windows or Mac? If Windows, 
> XP, Vista, 7, 8? What is standard on Linux? KDE, Gnome, Unity, pick your 
> favorite WM. So why is it your developers get to use non-standard tools, 
> (Emacs, Vi), or define then standard as being what they use?
> There are lots of applications where the UI is almost never standard by 
> anyone's definition. In my world financial investment apps. Education 
> apps, games, ...
> This argument passes no reasonable standard.
> >> Especially having the IDE in Smalltalk itself and thus being able to
> >> inspect and debug and modify everything is a big advantage over any IDE
> >> in a different language.
> >
> >> I don't understand why the IDE needs to be in the image/language to do that.
> >> All Smalltalk implementations have shortcomings in some areas. There
> >> are a multitude of reasons for it, be it commercially
> >> (greater estimated expenses than earnings from it) or just lack of
> >> capacity. Smalltalk users are rare these days and the community is
> >> split because of different implementations and interests. For me, Pharo
> >> is on a good way to take the Smalltalk language into a better
> >> ecosystem. But for the moment Dolphin Smalltalk is my preferred system
> >> because it's relatively cheap and has only few known bugs. In my eyes
> >> it deserves a bigger community and better commercial success. But I
> >> guess that's what every Smalltalker thinks about his preferred
> >> Smalltalk system...
> >
> > Dolphin seems to be one of the better implementations, but the problem
> > with Dolphin is Windows. All of the projects on my radar right now are
> > moving applications away from Windows to Mac/Linux (mostly Mac).
> So, in this statement, by definition you are moving from the most 
> standard defined UI to lesser standard UIs. Linux is all over the map.
> The above are simply my opinions and I make no express statements that 
> anyone else in the Pharo community agrees with them.
> Personally I am all for improving the Pharo worlds and making more 
> things accessible within that world. Not necessarily becoming like the 
> world outside of Pharo/Smalltalk. If I want that world, it is already there.
> I would also presume that by your exploration of our little world, which 
> by the way is 30+ years old, that you have sufficient deficiencies in 
> the world you come from to explore what else is available.
> Jimmie

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