Hilaire Fernandes is writing a series of blog posts intended to introduce Squeak to teachers and to developers of educational software. The articles—available in both English and French—are intended to be a gentle introduction to Squeak’s features, and to highlight the ways in which it can be used in education. In each post Hilaire introduces a new topic, and explains its relevance to educational users.

In writing this series of posts, Hilaire is able to draw on many years involvement in developing Free software in education (including Dr Geo II for the OLPC XO), and working with education professionals to incorporate such software into the school curriculum.

The first post gives Squeak’s background and introduces Morphic – English, Français.

The second post is an overview of how images work – English, Français.

Michael Perscheid announced in the Seaside mailing list the publication of a new Seaside book An Introduction to Seaside. He says that:

“This book explains the major concepts of Seaside in a clear and intuitive style. A working example of a ToDo List application is developed to illustrate the framework’s important concepts that build upon each other in an orderly progression. Besides the notions of users, tasks, components, forms and deployment, additional topics such as persistence, Ajax and Magritte are also discussed.”

The book is based on the online tutorial developed at the Hasso-Plattner Institut, and the content has been revised and expanded for this edition.

The 212-page book can be previewed and ordered at online publisher lulu.com for about €20/£14/$25.

Congratulations to all involved at the HPI Software Architecture Group for producing this great introduction to Seaside. They are: David Tibbe, Michael Perscheid, Martin Beck, Stefan Berger, Jeff Eastman, Michael Haupt, Robert Hirschfeld and Peter Osburg.

Free Smalltalk books

10 April, 2008

Stéphane Ducasse maintains a great list of free Smalltalk books including online pdfs of many out-of-print books.

These books span over twenty years of Smalltalk development, and includes great resources such as Smalltalk-80: The Language and its Implementation (the “Blue Book”), Smalltalk with Style(pdf), and more recent classics such as Squeak by Example (written by Stéphane Ducasse along with Andrew P. Black, Oscar Nierstrasz and Damien Pollet).

This is a great resource that is of use to beginners and to more experienced programmers wanting to understand more of the philosophy and design decisions behind Smalltalk and Squeak.

Links and reviews of many other (non-free!) books can be found at the Squeak wiki, John M McIntosh’s site, and Squeakland has a reading list prepared by Alan Kay for those who want to learn more about the ideas and philosophies that influenced the creation of Squeak.

If you know of other books and online resources that should be listed here, please let us know!

[Please note the URL has been updated to address David’s comment below. The original URL was an older page with fewer books available.]

The Year of Smalltalk

2 April, 2008

The Year of Smalltalk

Randal L. Schwartz just announced that he will be giving a 3 hour tour of Seaside at OSCON 2008. We are very proud to have Randal on the Squeak Foundation Board. We are looking forward to more of his “Year of Smalltalk“.

[Edit: corrected spelling]

What’s the difference?

31 March, 2008

Fully Functional Babbage Difference Machine

The following was posted to the Squeak-Dev Mailing list by Markus Denker. The quote speaks for itself and it does give one pause to consider the implications to our community. It also strikes me as relevant to a lot of other development communities too. Great ideas are still very powerful and inspiring, but the idea alone is still seen as only half the process. We all know that there is a lot of very interesting problems that arise while we transform our ideas into working code. We also know that it is much easier to build onto a working system, or take what we learned from the process of building a working system to the next generation. While the idea itself can be seen as a great accomplishment, the realization of the idea by itself confers even greater benefits to the community. What projects have you left undone? What’s the difference?

“One of the sad memories of my life is a visit to the celebrated mathematician and inventor, Mr Babbage. He was far advanced in age, but his mind was still as vigorous as ever. He took me through his work-rooms. In the first room I saw parts of the original Calculating Machine, which had been shown in an incomplete state many years before and had even been put to some use. I asked him about its present form.
‘I have not finished it because in working at it I came on the idea of my Analytical Machine, which would do all that it was capable of doing and much more. Indeed, the idea was so much simpler that it would have taken more work to complete the Calculating Machine than to design and construct the other in its entirety, so I turned my attention to the Analytical Machine.'”

“After a few minutes’ talk, we went into the next work-room, where he showed and explained to me the working of the elements of the Analytical Machine. I asked if I could see it. ‘I have never completed it,’ he said, ‘because I hit upon an idea of doing the same thing by a different and far more effective method, and this rendered it useless to proceed on the old lines.’ Then we went into the third room. There lay scattered bits of mechanism, but I saw no trace of any working machine. Very cautiously I approached the subject, and received the dreaded answer, ‘It is not constructed yet, but I am working on it, and it will take less time to construct it altogether than it would have token to complete the Analytical Machine from the stage in which I left it.’ I took leave of the old man with a heavy heart.”

— Lord Moulton

Marcus Denker http://www.iam.unibe.ch/~denker

Dan Ingalls gave an interesting Tech Talk on the Lively kernel (best viewed in Safari 3 apparently) at Google a few weeks ago – what better way to (re)introduce our new board member?

Squeak by Example, 2.0!

12 March, 2008

Squeak By Example

Stéphane Ducasse has just announced that the second edition of Squeak By Example has just been published. It is available for download from the Squeak By Example website, or if you prefer paper to phosphors, you can order a hard copy from print-on-demand publishers lulu.com for only €16.18/$20.10/£11.07.

Licensed under the creative commons by-sa licence, the first edition was a great success, with over 20,000 downloads in less than six months. For the second edition, the authors Oscar Nierstrasz, Stéphane Ducasse, Damien Pollet and Andrew P. Black, have reviewed and revised the contents based on feedback from readers.

At over 300 pages, the book is an excellent introduction to developing in Squeak, and the overall organization and choice of topics makes it a great reference work.

Hashing in Smalltalk

25 February, 2008

Hashing in SmalltalkAndrés Valloud has just published “Hashing in Smalltalk: Theory and Practice” on Lulu. He describes the book as providing “a strong foundation for hashing, hash functions, and their application in the context of software development. The first part develops hashing and hash functions from first principles. The behavior characteristics required of hash functions are examined in detail. A thorough description of how hash functions are constructed follows, complete with a rich survey of existing hash functions. But often times existing hash functions are inappropriate for the task at hand. To address this problem, the second part shows how to build novel hash functions that are both efficient and of very high quality for many of the types of data that occur in practice.”

The book compares algorithms and implementations of hashing across the main Smalltalks (Squeak, Dolphin, Visual Works and VisualAge), as well as other languages including C, C++, C#, Java, OCaml and ML. It’s available for $40/€32.20/£22.04 .

Andrés has also posted a great illustration of the dangers of the use of inappropriate hashing functions.

Randal Schwartz and Leo

Don’t miss this fun new video from Randal Schwartz and Leo about Squeak, EToys and OLPC.  Randal builds a very nice car demo.

Nepal and Japan

Hi Squeakers,
Enclosed kindly find the information about International Squeak Live Video Conference in Nepal and Japan to be held Feb 28, 2008.  If you are interested to contribute or participate, you are most welcome.

Best regards,
Yogesh Shrestha

International Squeak Live Video Conference (pdf)