Avi Bryant alerted the Seaside mailing list to some exciting news: Cmsbox is one of the ten winners of this year’s useit.com 10 Best Application UIs of 2008, a competition intended to identify the 10 best-designed application user interfaces each year.

Cmsbox is a powerful and flexible Content Management System (CMS) which allows users to create, edit and arrange content directly on the web site. It was built by Swiss company netstyle.ch using Squeak Smalltalk, Seaside and Scriptaculous.

In describing the award, which is the latest in a string of awards won by CmsboxJakob Neilsen wrote that Cmsbox made it “particularly easy for direct users to create highly usable designs […] They have demonstrated that just one extra line of controls is all that is required to turn a website into a Web authoring environment. […] There are no modes to switch between, no edit windows to keep track of; it is immediately clear to users what effect their actions will have on the final layout because they are always working within that final layout”.

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.

MacWorld magazine is running a series of reviews of their favourite free and low-cost applications for the Mac, and one of their picks is Plopp, a painting tool from Impara for easily creating cartoon-like 3D scenes. Although their review doesn’t mention this (did they even know it?), Plopp was developed and runs totally in Squeak!, which of course means that it’s also available on Windows and (for free!) on Linux.

Plopp seems to be getting a lot of attention at the moment, perhaps because you can also use it to create models for use in Second Life, so congratulations to all at Impara for the recognition their work is getting!

Most of the slides from the presentations at this year’s Smalltalk Solutions conference are now on line.

The material available includes Gilad Bracha’s talk on Newspeak, James Foster’s guide to building a Seaside application using GemStone/S, Michael Rueger’s introduction to Sophie, Arden Thomas demonstrating WebVelocity in action, and Randal Schwartz’s double-header keynote: Seaside – Your Next Web Framework and an introduction to persistency solutions for use with Seaside.  

There are also slides from a couple of sessions looking at the reasons for the recent resurgence of interest in Smalltalk: Arden Thomas looks at the features of Smalltalk that other languages lack, and Rob Rothwell explains how Smalltalk helps with the development of healthcare applications.

There are many more slide-packs available, and still more to be added, so please check out the conference page for more information. James Robertson is adding video and audio as it becomes available.

Avi Bryant joined Gemstone’s Bob Walker at RailsConf last week for a presentation (summarised here) describing MagLev, a Ruby VM built on the same technology as Gemstone/S, offering transparent persistence, and so the possibility of massive scalability, to Ruby applications. Despite only being under development for three months, with the initial focus being on scalability rather than speed, MagLev is already able to run Ruby code at speeds comparable or better than established Ruby implementations, with orders of magnitude improvements in some cases.

The presentation caused lots of excitement at the conference, and has sparked lots of heated debate within the Ruby development community with some very different views of MagLev from Charles NutterGiles Bowkett,  Obie Fernandez, and Antonio Cangiano, as well as an article at Slashdot and posts all over Reddit.  Avi has a blog-post addressing some of the discussion, as does Patrick Collison.

For Smalltalkers, one particularly interesting feature of MagLev, from an interview with Bob Walker by InfoQ, is that it retains the ability to execute Smalltalk code as well as Ruby, and should support image-based development.

[Edit: Chad Fowler had access to MagLev well before the presentation, and so offers a more considered assessment of it]

 

On 15/16 May, the workshop on Self-Sustaining Systems (S3) took place at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam. An exciting event at a beautiful place, it featured invited talks by Ian Piumarta, Dan Ingalls, and Richard P. Gabriel, and five presentations of reviewed papers that approached self-sustainment from different angles.

Read the rest of this entry »

ESUG, the organisers of the 16th International Smalltalk Joint Conference, to be held 25-29 August 2008 in Amsterdam, have issued a call for contributions. Submissions are to be made by 1st June 2008, with notification of acceptance on 15th June 2008.

About the Conference

For the past 16 years, the European Smalltalk User Group (ESUG) has organised the International Smalltalk Conference, a lively forum on cutting edge software technologies that attract people from both academia and industry for a whole week. The attendees are both engineers using Smalltalk in business and students and teachers using Smalltalk both for research and didactic purposes.
As every year, this year’s edition of the largest European Smalltalk event will include the regular Smalltalk developers conference with renowned invited speakers, a Smalltalk camp that proves fruitful for interactions and discussions. This year’s conference will also see the 4th year of the Innovation Technology Awards, where prizes will be awarded to authors of best pieces of Smalltalk-related projects.

The conference features the following events:

  • Camp Smalltalk – There will be a Smalltalk camp on 23-24 August
  • Developers Forum
  • Technology Forum

Developers Forum
This year we are looking for your experience with using Smalltalk. The list of topics includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • XP practices
  • Development tools
  • Experience reports
  • Model driven development
  • Web development
  • Team management
  • Meta-Modelling
  • Security
  • New libraries & frameworks
  • Educational material
  • Embedded systems and robotics
  • SOA and Web services
  • Interaction with other programming languages

Technology Forum
We are proud to announce the 4th Innovation Technology Awards. The top 3 teams with the most innovative software will receive, respectively, €500, €300 and €200 during an awards ceremony at the conference. Developers of any Smalltalk-based software are welcome to compete.

Student Volunteer Program
If you are a student wanting to attend ESUG, have you considered being a student volunteer? Student volunteers help keep the conference running smoothly; in return, they have free accommodations, while still having most of the time to enjoy the conference.

We hope to see you there and have fun together.

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.

The video has now been posted of Gilad Bracha‘s talk on Newspeak that we mentioned last month. Newspeak is a new dynamic language being developed at Cadence, and is descended from Smalltalk and Self, with influences from E, Scala and Scheme, exploring ideas around combinatorial parsing, strict message-passing, reflectivity, capability-based security and actor-style concurrency.

Newspeak is being developed on top of Squeak, and the presentation makes a number of direct comparisons with Squeak, especially when discussing UI matters such as the Newspeak widget framework, application framework and Class Browser, and how they’ve improved on Squeak’s access to the operating system with a new FFI framework.

The roadmap for the future development of Newspeak is also laid out, including a discussion of when/whether the code will be published.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, see this thread for help).

[Edit – Gilad Bracha has a fascinating blog that records his ongoing development of Newspeak.]

WavePlace

WavePlace 2

Hi everyone,
We’ve just posted two new videos from the St John Waveplace pilot, which concluded three weeks ago. The first shows mentoring during the pilot. The second shows students presenting their Etoys storybooks.
1) Scenes from the St John pilot (4 minutes)
2) The St John Storybook Awards (8 minutes)
We will be posting the actual storybooks to our website soon so you can see them for yourself.
In other news, the Haiti pilot will resume next week, since things have calmed down in Port-Au-Prince. The kids and teachers are well.
As always, if you’d like to hear more from us, please subscribe to our newsletter or donate money on our website to help with our courseware and pilots.
Take care,
Tim
Timothy Falconer
Waveplace Foundation
610-797-3100