Smalltalks 2010 took place last weekend, meaning that the post-conference reports have started hitting the blogs, and they’re universally enthusiastic about the content, organisation and atmosphere of the event.

Organised by Fundacion Argentina de Smalltalk (FAST), and hosted this year by Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, in Concepción del Uruguay, Smalltalks aims to “strengthen the Argentine and international Smalltalk communities through the exchange of works, experiences and anecdotes connected with this technology or related matters”. This year’s speakers included Gilad Bracha, Eliot Miranda, Lukas Renggli and many many more (see the conference home page for a full listing and descriptions of talks).

German Arduino described it as an “excellent event, with very very good organization—thanks to the hard work of FAST people—and high level technical talks”.

Felipao Banados was attending his first Smalltalk conference, and was also impressed: “I remember talking with classmates and hearing things like ‘Yeah, Smalltalk, nice. But where can you work on that afterwards?’ Well, there ARE a lot of interesting places to do it, and there is a need for smalltalk programmers.”

Andrés Valloud posted some rocking photos of the social event, and reported that the conference even got coverage in the local paper, including a video interview with Hernán Wilkinson.

As James Robertson wrote: “Sounds a lot like ESUG to me – and that’s a good thing.”

This year’s ESUG International Smalltalk Conference ended last Friday, though some attendees are still travelling homewards,  slowly recovering from jet lag, or waiting for lost baggage. Nevertheless, for most of us it’s an appropriate time to look back on the conference.

The conference had a great buzz about it this year. As usual Camp Smalltalk gave early arrivals the chance to get their hands dirty and start hacking on code. Among other activities, Seaside 3.0 was finalised and announced.

A packed official schedule kicked off with a great presentation (mp4) of a gorgeous web-based event planning tool based on Seaside. Following presentations covered topics as diverse as the challenges of development in commercial environments, using native widgets from Squeak on the iPhone, next steps for source management systems, a live workshop introduction to Wolf Pack Programming, controlling robots, a panel discussion of the complex issues of licencing and warranties, vendor roadmaps and much, much more. You can see the conference programme for more information.

There were two events which really lifted the energy levels of the whole conference. The “Show Us Your Projects” session gave each speaker a strict ten minutes to present their pet project. These talks were crammed with too many great ideas and implementations to list – you really must keep an eye out for the video of the session. The Innovation Technology Awards had 15 entrants this year, each of whom was asked to provide a video and present their projects for voting. All the entries were very impressive, but the winners (announced during the social event at the Museo de la Ciencia) were Physical Etoys from the Universidad Abierta Interamericana team, Eliot Miranda’s Cog VM, and Mars (native widgets on OS X) by Esteban Lorenzano.

Some other impressions of the conference can be found at the following sites (please add a comment below if you know of any other interesting posts about the conference):

The conference was hosted by CitiLab Cornellà, who did a great job of making us feel welcome. All the sessions were live-streamed by CitiLab, and videos are being uploaded and hosted by Cincom. On-the-day support was provided by the student volunteers, who were easily identifiable by their stylish red caps!

Thanks to everyone involved in the sponsoring, hosting and organising of the conference, and here’s looking forward to next year’s conference which is to be held in the UK.

This year’s ESUG conference will host the 6th annual Innovation Technology Awards. The top 3 teams with the most innovative software will receive, respectively, €500, €300 and €200 during an awards ceremony at the conference. Developers of any Smalltalk-based software are welcome to compete, and, for the first time, this year entrants are asked to provide a 3-5min video explaining each entry.

There are lots of interesting projects up for the competition, based on Squeak, Pharo, VisualWorks, and Smalltalk/X.  You can find out more about the competition at http://www.esug.org/Conferences/2010/Innovation+Technology+Awards, and of course, you’ll be able to see them for yourself at the conference. See you there!

Luc Fabresse invites all Smalltalkers to submit your Smalltalk based software to the 7th ESUG Innovation Technology Awards. The top 3 teams with the most innovative software will receive, respectively, €500, €300 and €200 during an awards ceremony at the 18th International Smalltalk Joint Conference 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.

No constraints are put on the software except that it should be Smalltalk-based or Smalltalk-related and all flavours of Smalltalk are accepted. Last year’s entries included student projects, one-man labours of love, and full commercial applications.

Don’t forget that early registrations for the conference are only open for another month. You can register at http://registration.esug.org/ (running on Seaside). This server comes with new features: you can now do a group registration and make a single payment; it also allows you to book and pay for reduction tickets (typically for Golden and Platinum sponsors).

The ESUG 2010 conference preliminary schedule is available at http://www.esug.org/Conferences/2010

Juan Vuletich has been working for some time on Morphic 3, a research and development project aimed at building the next standard in 2D user interfaces. One of his aims is to do mathematically proved alias-free rendering. In order to achieve these objectives, he has been experimenting with several techniques and design features, some which are new and others are not, but have never been consistently applied to a 2D GUI.

Juan’s contention is that, although the theory behind sampling is about 80 years old, existing graphics software completely ignore the theory and that his quest for higher quality results has resulted in the idea of applying the Sampling Theory which allows for mathematically proved alias free rendering. He informed the squeak-dev mailing list of his latest post which makes the startling claim that “I developed new drawing algorithms that give better results than those in Cairo, AGG, etc.” and he has created some examples showing some of the problems with existing algorithms, and how his approach improves these issues.

Juan is preparing the algorithms for release, which will involve him publishing it in a  journal or as a Ph.D. thesis, and securing it for free use by either putting the code in the public domain or releasing it under the MIT licence.

Juan’s work on Morphic 3 is supported by ESUG’s Support Your Project programme.

Good news from Mariano Martinez Peck, one of the key organisers of the joint Smalltalk entry into this year’s Google Summer of Code: the students started work on their projects this week!

Following Google’s decision to focus on fewer organisations last year, ESUG co-ordinated a joint application for projects across all Smalltalk dialects this year, and were so successful in this venture that they got approval for 6 projects. You can find out more about the selected projects at the projects page.

For the last two weeks or so, students have been talking and discussing with their mentors, reading and investigating about the projects, and perhaps getting an early start on their development work. This was in line with the GSoC deadlines that you can read at the ESUG GSoC site and at the GSoC blog.

The organisers have told students to ask in case of problems or questions to their mentors but also to the community through the mailing list, so be prepared to help out with questions and issues that the students may have.

Mariano says “Good luck to all students and enjoy this wonderful opportunity you have. Now we are in the best part of the program!”

Rita Freudenberg has announced that “The official Squeakfest website is now live and ready for you to propose a presentation, workshop, or panel.”

Squeakfest is an annual conference where developers and users of the Etoys media-rich authoring and experimentation environment (based on Squeak) get together to share ideas, experiences, and their enthusiasms with colleagues from around the world.

This year’s conference will be held at University of North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the USA from 26th—28th July, and the theme for will be “Etoys in the STEM classroom.”

The conference will offer an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the NSF-funded project “Using Squeak to Infuse Technology (USeIT)” which is now reaching its 3rd year.

The team are keen to hear from individuals and groups with experience teaching with Etoys, as well as non-classroom Etoys use, particularly as it relates to OLPC pilots or homeschooling. More information will be added to the website as it becomes available, but the organisers ask presenters to get presentation information to them by completing and submitting the online form no later than 11th June, 2010.

To get a flavour of what to expect at the conference, have a look at our report from last year’s Squeakfest.

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