Stéphane Ducasse writes that his book “Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots” is now free.

The book was the result of a collaboration by Stéph with his wife who was a maths and physics teacher in a French school for students aged 11–15, meaning that the book addresses many of the issues that are raised by children when first introduced to programming concepts. It uses a simple environment written in Squeak Smalltalk to allow children to create and manipulate bots.

The book (also known as the Bots Inc book) was published by Apress in June 2005, and received some very nice testimonials and reviews, with Huw Collingbourne saying that for “a beginning programmer or someone who wants an easy-to-understand entry to the world of ‘real’ object orientation, it would be a real treat.”

Thanks to financial support from ESUG, Stéph has now been able to buy back the rights to the book in order to release it for free. He is now working to make the book available on his website, and translations are already under way.

The original book is still available for purchase both as hard copy and for download onto Amazon’s Kindle.

New Screencasts on DrGeoII

20 August, 2008

Hilaire Fernandes has announced that he has created over 50 screencasts illustrating the capabilities of DrGeoII. DrGeoII allows students at primary or secondary level to create and interactively manipulate geometric figures within definable constraints.

It is written using Morphic in Squeak Smalltalk, and can be embedded and mixed with existing Morph elements of the Squeak environment on the OLPC XO to produce some very impressive-looking activities to help students learn about mathematics and physics. The DrGeo wiki has lots of useful advice on how to get the best from the application.

Development of Dr. Geo II was partly sponsored by TOP, the Taiwan Open Source Project, with funding from the Taiwan Ministry of Economy, and by ESUG to promote the Smalltalk language.

Ken Causey has added a very useful video to the Squeak Smalltalk group at vimeo.com, in which he demonstrates the entire process of creating and submitting a bug/fix or enhancement for Squeak. Along the way he also explains how to track down simple bugs, how to manage changesets, and how to navigate your way around the Mantis bug tracking system.

Avi Bryant Interview

28 July, 2008

Werner Schuster from InfoQ.com spent some time talking to Avi Bryant at QCon London 2008, and InfoQ have posted a recording of their conversation. In the interview, Avi talks about the Smalltalk web framework Seaside, DabbleDB, using Smalltalk images for persistence instead of an RDBMs, GemStone and more.

The Squeak mailing lists have recently seen a surge of interest in getting videos published to help explain Squeak and Smalltalk to developers coming to the language and environment for the first time.

In response to this Randal L. Schwartz has set up a new Squeak Smalltalk group on vimeo.com to allow Squeakers to easily upload and share their videos.

Videos can be a great way to help people quickly pick up a lot of complex information, which makes this an opportunity for Squeakers old and new to help promote Squeak. If there are any topics that you think would suit a short video, why not try recording one and publishing it? If you’re the developer of a powerful Squeak developer tool, and you’re amazed that no-one seems to use all of its functionality, this would be a great way to expose all of those features in a compelling way.

If you’re a new developer struggling with Squeak, let us know what topics you’d like to see covered in video tutorials. If you’ve got any recommendations for recording and editing software for Windows, Mac or Linux, please leave a comment.

 

Randal Schwartz notes on his blog that: 

James Robertson of the weekly Smalltalk Industry Misinterpretations podcast has graciously offered me the opportunity to add a short weekly Squeak News segment to his podcast.  I’ll be selecting the most recent posts from news.squeak.org, and reading them at varying speeds, depending on the amount of news.  Hear the result at the current podcast, andsubscribe to get future (weekly) releases.

It would be really cool if my appearance reading the Squeak News gets picked up for Squeak News, so I’ll be reading an article from Squeak News for the podcast about reading the articles from Squeak News for the podcast.  Turtles all the way down!
Heh, let’s see if this breaks the intar-web.

 

The German Squeak Association (Squeak e. V.) had its annual meeting on May 17. For the second time, the meeting was hosted by the Software Architecture Group at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam. Before the official part, attendees of the meeting were given the opportunity to demonstrate their Squeak projects.

First, Tobias Pape and Arian Treffer, students of HPI, demonstrated SwaLint, a source code checker for Squeak. SwaLint is intended as a successor to SmallLint and, thanks to its flexible plug-in architecture, supports running SmallLint checks seamlessly. SwaLint can be configured in great detail: thresholds for all kinds of values can be set, and output can be filtered. Users can easily implement their own plug-ins for the tool.

Next, Michael Haupt (HPI) gave a brief demonstration of SqueakFS, which was implemented by Johan Björk and Eskil Andréen from Stockholm University, Sweden. SqueakFS makes the contents of a running Squeak image available as part of the file system. Currently, it is limited to read-only access, but the image can already be viewed from three perspectives: all classes as a flat collection, assorted by category, and by class hierarchy.

Robert Krahn presented SqueakSVN, which is an ongoing development effort in the Software Architecture Group at HPI. The purpose of SqueakSVN is to make Subversion version control available to Squeak developers; it is able to import Monticello projects. SqueakSVN will be released in June.

Martin Beck is currently working on his MSc thesis in the HPI Software Architecture Group. His work is dedicated to implementing NXTalk, a Smalltalk virtual machine for the Lego Mindstorms NXT platform. Development of NXTalk application takes place in a Squeak image, and assembled NXTalk images are transferred to the NXT for execution by the dedicated NXTalk VM. In the current state, simple images can be assembled and run: Martin demonstrated a program that can be used to steer a simple NXT bestowed with two motors.

The popular introduction to the Seaside web application framework that was produced at HPI was briefly presented by David Tibbe, one of its co-authors.

Robert Krahn had another appearance presenting the collection of games for the XO laptop developed by HPI students. All of the games are available for download as project or SAR files.

Finally, Carl Friedrich Bolz (Düsseldorf University), Adrian Kuhn (University of Bern), and Toon Verwaest (University of Bern) presented SPy, their ongoing effort to implement the Squeak VM in Python using the sophisticated PyPy tool chain. SPy is currently lacking GUI  and other I/O support, but is able to load images and run the tinyBenchmarks. Right after the Squeak association meeting, a PyPy development sprint in Berlin will, amongst others, bring new improvements.

After the official part of the association meeting, special guest Dan Ingalls gave a demonstration of Lively, his current project at Sun Labs. It looks and feels, admittedly, a bit like Squeak in disguise, but in Dan’s opinion, there is nothing bad about building the “same” system several times if it’s cool. That is certainly true for Lively.

Squeak by Example has been a hugely successful introduction to Squeak since its publication last year, and it has now been made available to a wider audience, following the publication of a French edition Squeak par l’exemple. As with the English edition, the book has been made available in print from print-on-demand specialists lulu.com for around €17/$20/£11, or can be downloaded from the site as a pdf.

Squeak par l’exemple was produced thanks to the hard work of the team of translators: Martial Boniou, Mathieu Chappuis, Luc Fabresse, René Mages, Nicolas Petton, Alain Plantec, Benoît Tuduri and Serge Stinckwich.

Randal L. Schwartz had a “standing-room only” audience at BarCampPortland for his presentation on why web developers should consider using the Seaside web application framework. BarCampPortland is described as an “unconference for the Portland [Oregon] tech community”, and aims to offer the attendees interesting topics, cool people and great networking opportunities.

Randal was offered a 45-minute slot, and took the opportunity to explain what makes Seaside such a powerful framework for professional web developers. His material, which incorporated feedback from colleagues on the Seaside mailing list, was very well received, and will form the basis for future presentations by Randal to raise the awareness of Seaside in the web development community.

Avi Bryant writes at the Dabble DB blog that the team has produced a new 8-minute demo of their product in action. This new video replaces their 2006 video which was linked to so frequently that it still shows up as #4 in the google results for “the demo“.

Dabble DB is a tool to help you create, manage, interpret and present data via your browser. Written in Squeak using the Seaside web application framework, it has received glowing reviews since its launch in 2005.

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