Squeak 4.5 Released!

21 March, 2014


From Chris Muller:

So!  Let it be known!  Squeak 4.5 is released!

Home page is here:  http://www.squeak.org

4.5 release notes are here:  http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6193

Excellent Job Everyone!!  Can you tell we are excited!

Janko Mivšek wrote to the squeak-dev mailing list that “we are preparing an application to this year’s Smalltalk Google Summer of Code under the ESUG umbrella, as last year”.

Google Summer of Code is a global program sponsored by Google that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. The Smalltalk community has a successful record of participation in the scheme, under the aegis of ESUG in recent years, and our organisers are looking for students and ideas, (and even better, students with ideas) for our entry in this year’s programme.

Janko asks Smalltalkers to “please start thinking about ideas what projects would be nice to have. Also start looking around for students. How to approach the universitites near by you, do you know who to contact there, etc”.

To see last year’s ideas and projects, visit the site for last year’s students. You can find out more at the new Smalltalk GSoC 2011 website: http://gsoc2011.esug.org, and don’t forget to ensure you’re aware of the GSOC timeline.

New tools for Squeak

2 December, 2010

The staff and students at the Hasso Plattner Insitute have set up a new site to share the impressive work they are doing using Squeak. The projects they are showcasing include some gorgeous UI Widgets and a new UI Designer (shown above).

Each project is available at the Institute’s SqueakSource server, and can be loaded using Metacello configurations.  All configurations were tested and run in the current Squeak (Trunk) versions (4.1, 4.2). The site is built using Trac project management software, which provides for issue/bug tracking if you do find any problems.

Many thanks to the Software Architecture Group, led by Prof. Dr. Robert Hirschfeld at the Hasso Plattner Insitute (University of Potsdam), for sharing these great projects.

(Note that Firefox currently gives a warning about the site due to an incomplete certificate chain, but this should be fixed soon).

Good news from Mariano Martinez Peck, one of the key organisers of the joint Smalltalk entry into this year’s Google Summer of Code: the students started work on their projects this week!

Following Google’s decision to focus on fewer organisations last year, ESUG co-ordinated a joint application for projects across all Smalltalk dialects this year, and were so successful in this venture that they got approval for 6 projects. You can find out more about the selected projects at the projects page.

For the last two weeks or so, students have been talking and discussing with their mentors, reading and investigating about the projects, and perhaps getting an early start on their development work. This was in line with the GSoC deadlines that you can read at the ESUG GSoC site and at the GSoC blog.

The organisers have told students to ask in case of problems or questions to their mentors but also to the community through the mailing list, so be prepared to help out with questions and issues that the students may have.

Mariano says “Good luck to all students and enjoy this wonderful opportunity you have. Now we are in the best part of the program!”

Following the successful release of Squeak 4.0, which was the first version of Squeak to be cleaned of all non-open-source code, there was enthusiasm to quickly get the next release out of the door. This was driven by concerns that the long and difficult process of re-licensing and re-writing meant that many areas of the 4.0 release were a long way behind the current state of Squeak.

As a result, there has been a concerted effort to move quickly to release version 4.1, incorporating many bugfixes, thorough test suites, much faster and cleaner code in many areas, the removal of obsolete code, and a much more consistent and clean user interface. It will also offer a much simpler and more robust installation process for new users.

The work on preparing for the 4.1 release is now drawing to a close, but more help is still welcome! You can support the work by downloading the latest release candidate from http://ftp.squeak.org/trunk/ (and possibly the 4.0 sources file) and:

  • ensuring all tests are green,
  • contributing fixes for issues marked as critical for 4.1 on bugs.squeak.org (or any other fixes you’ve been hiding up your sleeves),
  • checking that your packages on SqueakSource and SqueakMap install correctly in the new version,
  • checking that the new Windows installation process works on your configuration,
  • and of course, keeping an eye on the squeak-dev mailing list to ensure that you’re not duplicating work.

We expect a lot of interest in this new release, and want to ensure that we give new users a great first impression of Squeak. If you want to contribute to this work, now’s the time!

Janko and Mariano who are co-ordinating the joint ESUG application to this year’s Google Summer of Code are now looking for students to apply for the thirty-five proposed projects. The process couldn’t be simpler: review the list of projects, and you can register your interest in projects with just one click once you’re registered. You can also contact the project mentors for more information.

Note that this approach allows many students to register for each project, so if you want to improve your chances, make sure the project mentors can see why you would be the best choice for their project by editing your biography, and making sure that your contact information is up to date!

You must register by 9th April, so get cracking!

Any questions, visit the ESUG GSoC website, or contact the admins at esug.gsoc.adm2010@gmail.com.

The Squeak community are working with ESUG to submit a joint entry to this year’s Google Summer of Code but need your help at once!

Squeak participated in GSoC  in 2007 and 2008 but in 2009 Google started to focus on bigger communities, so Squeak developers are working with ESUG this year to put together a joint submission with other groups including open-source projects from all Smalltalk dialects, including Pharo, Smalltalk/X, GNU Smalltalk and Cuis as well as commercial distributions such as VisualWorks, VisualAge, Dolphin and Gemstone. Entries from cross-platform projects like Seaside, AidaWeb, Magma, etc. will also be welcome.

Mariano Martinez Peck will administrate the joint application supported by Janko Mivšek. They need to supply Google with information about ESUG as a mentoring organisation and a list of ideas/projects,  each with a description and a nominated mentor. If their submission get selected by Google they will be told how many projects Google will sponsor — the mentor receives $500 and the student who volunteers to work on the projects will receive $4500.

Due to a late start, they are very near to the first deadline! They have until 12th March 2010 to submit all the information of the mentor organisation and give the list of projects with mentors. So as a matter of urgency they need your projects. They’ve put together a webpage to hold details, so if you have project suggestions, send them a short title and a paragraph (for the moment) explaining the idea. You can also reply to Mariano’s email on most of the key developer mailing lists including the squeak-dev mailing list.

Good mentors are often as hard to come by as good ideas, but often being helpful, being aware of the dates, answering emails, etc. can be more important than the Smalltalk knowledge, so if you’re able to act as a mentor or a back-up, let them know at once!

For some inspiration, you can see the ideas proposed in previous years:
2007: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/5936
2008: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6031
2009: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6120

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.


Those of you who read the squeak-dev mailing list will know that the list is currently going through the annual frenzy of discussion about the nature and direction of Squeak, including much to-and-fro over such topics as: the original vision of the founders of Squeak; the tangled relationship between Etoys and the rest of the Squeak environment and community; the reasons behind the Pharo project and how much its goals really differ from those of Squeak; whether children should be locked in the nursery or allowed to roam freely into every room of the house; and much more. If you have time (and some light body armour), it’s well worth reading through the hundreds of emails that have been written which explore and interpret much of the history and philosophy of Squeak.

This discussion has motivated the Squeak Oversight Board to look at one topic that caused much debate: how to manage the development of Squeak. Driven by a concern that there are many hurdles that discourage wide-spread participation in the contribution process, the Board have put forward a new community development model that they hope will “enable the community at large to improve Squeak, the core of the system and its supporting libraries”.

Based on processes that have been shown to work in commercial settings, the Board’s model includes the use of Monticello as the primary source code management system, free access for the developers to the main repositories (trunk, tests, and inbox) and an incremental update process for both developers and users of Squeak.

Obviously, such a change has sparked off its own debate, and important questions are being hammered out on the squeak dev mailing list. If you care about the health of the Squeak environment, its future direction, and the future support for your own favourite applications, this is a key moment for you to understand and contribute to the discussion which is continuing on the squeak-dev mailing list (see archives), on irc, and on the Board’s blog.

Soup for Squeak

19 January, 2009


Zulq Alam has been working on Soup, a Squeak port of Beautiful Soup, the tolerant HTML/XML parser written in Python, which is extremely useful when you need to scrape data from a web page. He has recently announced a working release and gave some example of its usage.

Zulq notes that there’s still plenty of work to do on this port:

  • No attempt is made to deal with different character sets and encodings.
  • The parser will not convert entity or char references.
  • The parser will not accept options such as whether to convert entities, which entities to convert, what to parse, etc.
  • The parser will only do HTML; there are no configurations for other XML flavours yet.

He adds that the project repository is globally writable, and he looks forward to your feedback and contributions.