Squeak: toy or instrument?
18 October, 2006
A message by Giuseppe Luigi Punzi sparked an interesting “philosophical” discussion on the nature of Squeak.
Giuseppe remarks that for many developers who work with other languages, Squeak looks like a children toy with no serious applications built with it.
To this Matthew Fulmer replied:
Squeak is a toy. That is a good thing.
Squeak is a toy, and therefore it looks like a toy. Aversion to
toys is (in my not-so-humble opinion) the worst thing that is
taught to programmers (adults?) today. Playing is the only way
to make new ideas. One must enjoy playing before they can
understand the purpose of Squeak. Until they realize “Squeak is
a Toy, and I am OK with that”, they are missing the point. A
clean object memory, simple syntax, and easy debugging are just
implementation issues. The point of Squeak is to have fun
building; after that, everything else falls into place.
This caused a follow up by Alan Kay, that wrote:
The “other” kind of thing that “can be played with” is an
“instrument” (musical, wood or metal shaping, etc.). Instruments are
partly “mess around toys” and partly “serious toys”. And Art enters
in when one starts to play on an instrument and around with an
instrument. Dan and I had this in mind when we designed and built Smalltalk.
Other Squeakers, both old and new, gave their contribution to the discussion.
So, what do you think?