Nicolas Chen has posted a very interesting report on the Squeak and Seaside ‘Birds of a Feather’ sessions at this year’s OOPSLA Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Speakers included Michael Lucas-Smith of Cincom talking  about their WebVelocity development tool for Seaside; Göran Krampe on Blackfoot, his lightweight SCGI-based KomHttpServer replacement for Seaside deployment; Dave Ungar (ex-Sun Labs, now at IBM Research) on his work on multi-core Squeak; and Jecel Assumpcao Jr. on Smalltalk Hardware Design, and his Siliconsqueak project.

As promised, Göran has published videos of the sessions; see his blog for details.

As he demonstrated at ESUG, Tudor Girba has recently been working with Pier, the Web Content Management System built on Seaside, and has announced the release of a new version, with a number of new features. Pier CMS allows users to create and manage their own websites. It supports the development of plug-ins allowing the addition of features such as blogs.

To accompany the new version, he also announced that there is now a new official homepage for Pier (written in Pier of course). The site allows you to download the latest code, and provides much-needed documentation including videos walking you through the set-up and use of Pier.

 

Following the conclusion of ESUG‘s 16th Joint International Smalltalk Conference in Amsterdam, the Seaside developers held a Seaside Sprint. The aim of the sprint was to address a number of outstanding issues in order to move Seaside 2.9 towards release.

The sprint was a great success with 14 developers working on a number of issues. Eighteen key bugs were resolved, and progress was made in a number of other areas. The attendees had a range of levels of knowledge and experience, from the core developers, to those seeing Seaside code for the first time

The Sprint attendees would like to thank Café Kobalt and the Amsterdam Bibliotheek who provided essential facilities including free internet access, and great food and drink.

A team of students from UTN (National Technological University in Argentina) co-ordinated by Estaban Lorenzano has just announced the first beta release of SqueakDBX, a package to allow Squeak to access OpenDBX functionality, so allowing users to perform relational database operations (DDL, DML and SQL) through a truly open source library. OpenDBX can interact with major database engines such as Oracle and MSSQL besides open source databases such as Postgresql and MySQL. SqueakDBX can also integrate with GLORP.

From the release notes, the key features for this release are:

  • Tested on 3.10 and Pharo. 
  • Support for Linux and OSX. 
    • Proved on windows (through MinGW), but some changes in OpenDBX are still needed (next version will have full compatibility).
  • Tested on PostgreSQL, MySQL and Oracle. 
    • MS SQL Server, Firebird, Interbase, SQLite, SQLite3 and Sybase tests will be available as soon as possible. 
  • Transactional management.
  • Automatic conversion of resultset columns (a String) into squeak types. 
    • Large objects (clob, blob, arrays, and so on) are not yet supported.
  • Special OpenDBX options: multi-statments, compression, paged results. 
  • Automated database connection release on garbage collection (although manual disconnection is recommended)
  • Error handling

Some benchmark testing has been carried out, and the performance of the drivers appears to be comparable with native drivers.

The team are very keen to get feedback, bug reports, experiences on different platforms etc, and welcome any contributions. Sources can be download from SqueakSource (it requires FFI installed). Full documentation, installation and getting started instructions can be found at the SqueakDBX wiki page.

This project has been selected as part of ESUG SummerTalk 2008.

All new Monticello 2

15 August, 2008

Colin Putney has announced the release of Monticello 2.0, a ground-up rewrite, using a new, more flexible and more performant versioning engine. Monticello is a distributed optimistic concurrent versioning system for Squeak code written by Avi Bryant and Colin Putney with contributions from many members of the Squeak community.

The new version has a number of changes that Colin believes address problems uncovered while developing and using the first version. The new release manages versioning at a finer level: individual program elements – classes, methods, instance variables, etc. This means that Monticello 2 can be used to version arbitrary snippets of code. These might correspond to packages, change sets, or any other method a programmer chooses to separate “interesting” code from the rest of the image.

According to the discussion that followed the announcement, the new code also manages updates more quickly and with less network and disc traffic, is more extensible, and has better separation of core and UI elements (which will ease porting to other Smalltalks).

Older versions of the code are available on SqueakMap and SqueakSource, as well as the wiresong site, but in his email Colin says that the latest version should always be available at http://www.wiresong.ca/static/releases/Monticello-current.zip (I assume that requires a manual download and file-in – please let me know in the comments if there’s an easier way to do this). The zip file also has step-by-step instructions on how to use the (very different) user interface.

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”.

Lukas Renggli is looking for willing volunteers to complete work on a project that he has been working on. OB-Tools is a package that aims to build the remaining development tools on top of OmniBrowser. It currently includes working versions of the Inspector, Object Explorer, Debugger, Process Browser, File Browser, Transcript and Workspace. It’s already progressed to the point where Damien Cassou is planning to include it in his Squeak Developer Images. It’s also being used by Gwenael Casaccio in his Google Summer of Code project Squeak GTK.

Lukas asks: “I wonder if anybody would be willing to take over the effort? I don’t have much time to work on it and I think it would be a pity to let the code rot. The core is relatively stable, and there are only very few things missing compared to the original morphic tools. It would be cool to add tests similar to what we have for OB-Standard.”

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.

A set of posts to the squeak mailing lists has given more details about the 16th International Smalltalk Joint Conference organised by the European Smalltalk Users’ Group, to be held 25-29 August 2008 at CWI in Amsterdam.

Programme Details

Mathieu van Echtelt writes that the programme features more than 40 presentations on, among others, the following subjects:

Programming Language Platforms

  • Newspeak (New open source dynamic language focusing on modularity, security and interoperability)
  • Cog (New highly optimized open source Squeak VM)
  • Maglev (Highly scalable Ruby VM)
  • OpenCroquet (Deeply collaborative, multi-user online Smalltalk development environment)

Web Frameworks

  • Seaside (The continuation & component-based web framework)
  • WebVelocity
  • AidaWeb (Smalltalk Web Application Server)
  • WebTerminal

Model Driven Engineering:

  • The Meta Environment Language Workbench
  • ObjectStudio ModelingTool
  • Fame; Meta-modeling Framework
  • MBA Smalltalk; to manage your objects

 
Additionally, the winners of the ABN Amro sponsored Innovation Awards will be presented.

Booking Accommodation 

Noury Bouraqadi notes that discount hotel rates for conference attendees are available until 11 July.

Seaside Sprint

Lukas Renggli has announced that the core Seaside dev team will be holding the first official Seaside Sprint, starting after the conference closes at 14:00 on 29 August, and finishing when the last participant collapses over their smoking keyboard. He invites anyone interested in working on Seaside or related code to participate. The venue details will be announced once agreed.

Camp Smalltalk

As usual, the weekend preceding the conference will be used to host Camp Smalltalk, an opportunity to work with colleagues on a number of exciting projects. See the Camp Smalltalk page for more information.

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.