Hernan Wilkinson wrote to the squeak -dev mailing list that the Smalltalks 2009 presentations are available now at the Smalltalks Conference site under the “Talks” tab. Given that the speakers included such well-known figures as Dan Ingalls, Stephane Ducasse, Alex Warth, Tim Mackinnon, James Foster and Travis Griggs, there should be some fascinating viewing to be had.

Hernan added: “You can watch also the video used during the presentation that summarizes the previous two years of the conference, it is a very nice video. It is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekRhvg7W6AQ“.

There are also links to other videos and pictures from the conference home page.

Scratch is the cover story of the November 2009 issue of CACM, the monthly magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Scratch is a visual programming language, developed in Squeak, that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share these creations on the web. Aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 16, Scratch has developed a thriving community, with over 1000 new projects being uploaded to the site every day.

In inviting the Scratch team to submit an article, the editor of CACM explained his motivation: “A couple of days ago, a colleague of mine (CS faculty) told me how she tried to get her 10-year-old daughter interested in programming, and the only thing that appealed to her daughter (hugely) was Scratch.”

The submitted article is also available for viewing online.

Return To Smalltalk

7 November, 2009

NY-Skyline

The NYC Smalltalk group manages an active programme of talks and presentations, and this month’s talk looks to be very interesting. Daniel Antion, Vice President of Information Services at American Nuclear Insurers, discusses why his company began planning to migrate away from Smalltalk, and the evolving circumstances that caused them to take the difficult decision to reverse this strategy.

Dan has been working in Smalltalk since 1994 and develops most of ANI’s transaction processing systems. Dan has presented at Smalltalk Solutions, OOPSLA and the AIIM Expo on topics related to systems development, content management and SharePoint.

Dan’s experience and position within ANI mean that he can offer some real insights into the perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of Smalltalk from a corporate perspective, and the ongoing challenges it faces. He says “I’m not sure we saved Smalltalk forever but we bought it some serious time. The technical details that work for Smalltalk include its stability, malleability and extensibility. We still have concerns but we think they can be mitigated.”

If you’re going to be in New York on 18th November, find out more about Dan’s talk on the NYC Smalltalk website.

(Image by meironke on flickr)

Etoys 4 released

31 October, 2009

Following his announcement of the release candidate last month, Timothy Falconer of Squeakland has now announced the full release of Etoys 4, which you can now download from their website.

The Squeakland Fall newsletter has the Etoys 4 release notes which detail the changes you’ll find, in English and Spanish. The newsletter also has some thoughts by Scott Wallace on this release which completes the hand-over of Squeak Etoys from Viewpoints Research to the newly formed Squeakland Foundation.

To publicise some of the work being done using Etoys, the Squeakland site has a new feature: the Squeakland Showcase. Everyone can now share their projects directly from Etoys to the website, where the Etoys community can then benefit from the many surprising and useful Etoys examples that are available.

Timothy invites anyone using Squeak or Etoys, to consider adding their name to their Squeakers list. More than 175 people from 35 countries have signed, which really shows the enthusiasm and reach of Etoys throughout the world.

Timothy adds “Special thanks to the Squeakland software team, particularly Bert Freudenberg, Yoshiki Ohshima, and Scott Wallace for their tremendous efforts in the last month. Your hard work really shows!”

Smalltalk Party in Paris

17 October, 2009

Noury Bouraqadi wrote to the squeak-dev mailing list with news that French Smalltalk users are holding their eighth annual SmalltalkParty in Paris on Saturday 28th November 2009.

The empahsis is on short presentations, so there promises to be plenty of interesting presentations. Items already planned for discussion include:

  • Speed dating with Smalltalk—Smalltalk in 15 min
  • Pharo: a Smalltalk vision
  • Profiler in Smalltalk
  • Mondrian  visualisations
  • Seaside by example
  • Small Parser—an executable grammar-based parser
  • Helvetia: A framework for DSLs
  • Coral: a Smalltalk scripting Langage
  • F-Script 2.0 news

The session will be held at Ecole des Mines de Paris, Boulevard Saint Michel – Paris and runs from 09:00 to 17:00.

For more information (in French) see the SmalltalkParty webpage.

SqueakDBX news

7 October, 2009

logo-opendbx

The SqueakDBX team have been very busy recently working on their OpenDBX plugin which allows Squeak users to perform relational database operations (including DDL and DML as well as SQL) through an open source library.

Their new release, Version 1.1, now supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, Sqlite3, Oracle and MSSQL on Windows, Linux and Mac, as well as incorporating a number of performance refactorings.

They’ve also found time to build a new website for SqueakDBX, which contains lots of documentation and links to useful resources.

To get a better idea of the features of SqueakDBX, and of the work that the team have been doing, have a look at their ESUG 2009 presentation. You can also follow their work at http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakdbx

Squeak Etoys release candidate

30 September, 2009

Etoys

Timothy Falconer wrote to the squeak-dev mailing list to announce the Squeak Etoys 4 release candidate, in preparation for final release on 21st October.

This release is the product of nine months of work by the Etoys software team, and several weeks of sprinting by Bert Freudenberg, Yoshiki Ohshima, Scott Wallace and Timothy.

The Etoys team are now looking for your input: Timothy says “Please help us test the new Etoys! We want to make sure that it’s rock solid before getting used in schools and homes throughout the world”.

You can download the Etoys 4 release candidate at http://squeakland.org/download under “Release Candidates”.

Highlights of Etoys 4 include:

  • loading and sharing projects directly to the central Squeakland Showcase
  • fully “license clean”, so that it can be included in Linux distros
  • improved toolbar and viewer
  • optional drop-down categories for the project info box
  • lots of fixes and new translations throughout

To learn more about what’s new in Etoys 4, you can watch an interview with Scott Wallace or an introduction to the new beta showcase.

If you find any problems in the release candidate, you can try the Etoys chat channel, or post in the forums, or if you’re able to reproduce the error, add a ticket to the issue tracker.

Timothy passes on special thanks to everyone who made suggestions or helped the team to test the betas, saying “We’d be nowhere without our community!”

Smalltalks 2009

23 September, 2009

smalltalks

Following on from their high-profile presence at ESUG this year, the Argentinian Smalltalk community are preparing to host their third annual domestic Smalltalk conference, Smalltalks 2009.

Running from 19th to 21st November in Buenos Aires, the conference’s goal is to “gather both the Argentine and International Smalltalk community to get connected sharing our work and experience with regards to Smalltalk or related topics”.

The conference will have two streams: “Research and Education” for research and education work done with Smalltalk in universities and public or private
entities; and “Industry and Development” for presentations related to Smalltalk software developed by companies or individuals, both public and private.

In addition, the event will host a Smalltalk programming contest.  As in previous years, well known personalities from the international community will attend the conference.

All those connected with Smalltalk, be it faculty, students, researchers, developers or entrepreneurs, are invited to participate, free of charge, as presenters and members of the audience.

In addition, early registrants get a great-looking T-shirt for free, so get your bookings in now!

It has been two months since the Squeak Oversight Board first put forward their “New Community Development Model”. At the time the proposal caused a lot of heated debate on the squeak-dev mailing list, with concerns being expressed that similar efforts in the past had had little lasting impact, and had caused great frustration for those pushing those earlier efforts.

The motives of the Board were to “get rid of as many hurdles as possible in the contribution process [and]  to enable the community at large to improve Squeak, the core of the system and its supporting libraries”.

So, two months down the line, how’s it doing?

If sheer volume is any criterion, it looks like a great success with over 500 packages uploaded as patches to 3.10.2 and over 40,000 downloads from the trunk (see bottom of the linked page for up to date statistics).

The results of all this activity are available to use and test in the daily updated image published at http://ftp.squeak.org/trunk/ (needs a recent VM). If you want to contribute, you can add new patches at http://source.squeak.org/inbox/, or ask one of the current developers for access to the developers repository at http://source.squeak.org/trunk.

If you just want to get an idea of what’s going on, check out the commit logs that are getting posted to the squeak-dev mailing list, and to the #squeak irc channel on freenode.

DSC_5243-1

All the participants should now have safely returned home after a hugely successful ESUG conference. Participants from around the world (including an Argentinian football team) shrugged off the economic climate to spend a week in Brest and share their experiences and aspirations with fellow Smalltalkers.

Highlights included:

Check out the photos for a flavour of the conference: Adriaan, Hernan, James, Yuri. and many more.

Comments on the web have been very positive too:

  • “ESUG was a blast, totally.”
  • “Definitely the best Smalltalk conference I’ve ever been to.”
  • “a great conference”
  • “a pleasure to attend every year”
  • fascinating, inspiring and enjoyable”
  • it’s been intense”

With reviews like that, next year’s conference in Barcelona is bound to be a sell-out, so remember to book early!

(Photo from Yuri’s collection)