[Pharo-project] Cobol is the new language to know?

Casimiro de Almeida Barreto casimiro.barreto at gmail.com
Tue Feb 22 16:12:03 CET 2011

Em 22-02-2011 05:12, Geert Claes escreveu:
> csrabak wrote:
>>> Focusing in  the squeak/pharo/cuis  branch, I've noticed  that pharo
>>> people got really concerned in 
>>> aspects that  can attract  market interest.   They're looking for
>>> funding, fighting  to have "hired
>>> people" (meaning under wages) minding "hairy  aspects" of development,
>>> maintenance, documentation
>>> and some sort of "standardization", etc. Collaborators also produced
>>> interesting "printed material" (books, 
>>> tutorials) but IMO such material is still very academic in nature. People
>>> in industry likes best "manual" 
>>> stuff  (like "foundation  classes" with  "methods" (messages  in the
>>> case) documented,  etc). IMO (again)  
>>> here lies a  relevant problem: there  are "no foundation  classes" (no
>>> "landmarks" or things that cannot  be  > easily changed) and it becomes
>>> apparent when people exchange ideas  about "keeping this"  and "getting 
>>> rid of that". At least debate is going on and many issues have been
>>> addressed.
>> Yes.
> I don't understand what was said here?  Can someone elaborate?
In order to increase acceptance of smalltalk in corporate world (and
even in academic and scientific worlds) someone (pharo/squeak/cuis
people) must come out with a solution that:

1) Is well documented
2) Is supported
3) Is stable

To be well documented (in the sense corporate world understands it) a
smalltalk distro must:

1) Have a body (a set of) classes that are considered "foundation
classes". Those must be present in all versions of the distribution and
must have an unchanging set of features (in the case of smalltalk: an
unchanging set of messages,considering instance and class variables are
available through assessors). Those foundation classes must cover a
range of functionalities that makes the distro useful.
2) These foundation classes must be documented in a way that resembles,
at least, man pages of *nix (syntax, semantics, dependencies, known
bugs, exceptions, etc)
3) Foundation classes should be arranged in "orthogonal" packages
(meaning: if I unload one package everything that doesn't depend on it
still works). Anyways, dependencies should be documented in a very clear
and explicit way.

Just to give an example on how lack of documentation hurts open
smalltalk, how many people gave it up for not  being able to deliver
acceptable interfaces because Morphic is hideously documented? I know
several ones. In real corporate world, learning through trial and error
is not acceptable, just like blowing schedule up due to the need to
figure out by experience how ProportionalLayout works neither...

To be supported there must be people in charge of:

1) Debugging and fixing it (inside a well known schedule & following an
agreed maintenance protocol)
2) Elaborating suitable documentation (as described above)
3) Preparing didactic material (courses, books, etc)
4) Disseminating information of what's going on inside distro's
development (much in the way Ubuntu/Fedora/etc communities do)

Stable is stable...

There are other things that are important but IMO they all come after
ones I just wrote about.

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