Etoys-iii

Don’t miss the new Etoys book: http://wiki.squeakland.org/index.php/LearningWithEtoysI3.

Etoys is:

  • an educational tool for teaching children powerful ideas in compelling ways
  • a media-rich authoring environment and visual programming system
  • a free software program that works on almost all personal computers

All school children should have the opportunity to engage with computers in the most meaningful way. Learning to think and using the computer to discover and work with powerful ideas is the knowledge of true value. The community of Etoys users is working toward the dream of having all students become computer literate. This book only covers a small portion of those items. As you and your students learn some of the basic techniques, you will find more and more uses for them. The process of learning Etoys is just that, a process; the learning is on-going even though projects are begun and finished. Students will enjoy becoming experts and sharing their knowledge with others in the classroom.

Imagine this: A group of learners want to visualize what they Imagine so they go to Etoys to Invent their dreams and Inspire each other by building on their various Etoys projects. Today’s learners need this kind of experience to be prepared for the future.

For more information about Etoys visit www.squeakland.org

Cuis 3.0 released

15 January, 2011

Juan Vuletich has just announced the release of version 3.0 of Cuis.

Cuis is a free Smalltalk-80 environment originally derived from Squeak by Juan with a vision of creating a simple and powerful environment by stripping out the layers of complexity that have accreted as Squeak has been developed over many years. In particular, this has meant major re-design of Morphic code in Cuis.

Version 3.0 includes the core of a new architecture for cleaner separation of view and model for text morphs, as well a first version of a powerful theming framework developed by Casey Ransberger, giving simple control over every aspect of the appearance of the Cuis user interface. A number of sample themes have already been developed to demonstrate the power of this framework: DarkTheme as shown above demonstrates dark, translucent windows for late-night Linux hackers.

Download the Cuis 3.0 package for yourself to see the new code in action – it runs happily on existing VMs.

Stefan Marr has just announced on his blog the relase of RoarVM, the first single-image manycore virtual machine for Smalltalk. RoarVM is based on the work on Renaissance VM by David Ungar and Sam S. Adams at IBM Research, and was ported to x86 architecture by Stefan.

From his post: “The RoarVM supports the parallel execution of Smalltalk programs on x86 compatible multicore systems and Tilera TILE64-based manycore systems. It is tested with standard Squeak 4.1 closure-enabled images, and with a stripped down version of a MVC-based Squeak 3.7 image.” Support for Pharo 1.2 is currently limited to 1 core, but this is being worked on!

Here’s some indicative figures for this new VM (using an adapted version of tinyBenchmarks on an MVC image):

 1 core   66M bytecodes/sec;  3M sends/sec
 8 cores 470M bytecodes/sec; 20M sends/sec

As Stefan notes “The RoarVM is a research project and is not as optimized for performance as the standard Squeak VM”. For comparison:

Squeak 4.2.4beta1U, MVC image, OS X 555M bytecodes/sec; 12M sends/sec

so you’ll need a few cores active before you start to see improvements over your existing image! There are also a number of known issues with the current implementation.

You can download the code from the RoarVm page at GitHub, contribute to the discussion on the vm-dev mailing list, or follow #RoarVM updates on Twitter.

Seaside 3.0 released

12 September, 2010

Following some last minute work at this year’s second Camp Smalltalk event, the Seaside developers are pleased to announce the release of Seaside 3.0 on the eve of the ESUG 2010 Conference in Barcelona.

Seaside has undergone a total overhaul, with many classes having been refactored to reduce complexity, decrease coupling, and improve flexibility. The packages in Seaside are now cleanly defined with clear relationships and interdependencies, allowing you to load only those pieces you require. There are improvements in testing, in portability and in performance, as well as much better tools for developers including the Seaside Control Panel for Pharo and Squeak, and the web-based administration interface.

For more information, see the Seaside 3.0 release announcement, or the following links:

Seaside 3.0 Detailed Release Notes
http://seaside.st/community/development/seaside30

Seaside One-Click Experience 3.0 (runs with one-click on Mac, Windows and Linux)
http://www.seaside.st/distributions/Seaside-3.0-final.app.zip

Seaside 3.0 Developer Image 3.0 (for Pharo developers)
http://www.seaside.st/distributions/Seaside-3.0-final.zip

SqueakSource Repository for Seaside 3.0
http://www.squeaksource.com/Seaside30.html

And this time we mean it…

9 September, 2010

In an unexpected statement today, Apple have again changed their stance on the use of third-party development tools. In particular, they say that “we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need”. Daring Fireball has a nice summary of the key changes to the terms and conditions.

This puts us all back to where we were last year, with Squeak again being a realistic choice of development environments for use on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and of course the iPad. John MacIntosh’s port of the Squeak Virtual Machine to iOS, and Bert Freudenberg’s work on multi-touch support will prove very useful resources in getting keen developers up and running quickly. Unfortunately, Apple explicitly rule out any applications that can download additional code after purchase, meaning that Scratch on iOS is probably still out of bounds.

There’s already lots of speculation about what’s driven this change of heart, based on the timing of this announcement (just after the big Apple event last week), its low profile release, and its terseness (reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ rather direct written communications), but whatever the cause, Squeak developers have cause to celebrate!

Instantiations, the company who took over IBM’s Visual Age for Smalltalk business, have now had the Java part of their operation snapped up by Google, who were reportedly interested in Instantiation’s Java and Ajax team, especially their GWT Designer product, which is slated to become part of the Google Web Toolkit infrastructure.

In many cases in the past, innovative companies using Smalltalk have attracted the attentions of the big players, who have then bought them and dropped all Smalltalk development in favour of Java or other enterprise environments. In this case however, Instantiations’ Smalltalk business is being spun off, and will remain in business as a separate entity focusing on development and support of Smalltalk products including VA Smalltalk, as their new homepage makes clear.