[Pharo-project] Popularity of Smalltalk in Software Industry

Stefan Marr pharo at stefan-marr.de
Fri May 6 18:32:10 CEST 2011

(And some more flame war here)

On 06 May 2011, at 17:11, Miguel Cobá wrote:

>>>> No need to get into a cat-fight here :)
>>> No this is not my point. But what do people really do to help?
>> Stef, if you haven't noticed: I don't care about Smalltalk, and I don't care about Pharo, or any other language out there in particular. I don't share your vision, I have other goals in life.
> So what are you doing here, the less the noise the best for everyone
> else. You don't contribute, you only criticize, and then you said you
> don't care, the we don't care about your "opinion". You can keep it for
> yourself.

Well, I think my work on the RoarVM is some contribution, no? Perhaps, I would be more interested in Pharo if it would actually run nicely on the RoarVM, but I am stuck with a Squeak 3.x MVC image for my day to day work. And without anyone from the community approaching the work to make Pharo thread-safe that won't change. It is nice to change the world with Pharo, but the future is multi/manycore and Pharo does not support it. Ah, and the day has just 24h so don't expect anything from me beside the VM work, thats already enough to keep a whole team busy.

>> That's what I mean. From my perspective, books about programming languages are a wast of effort.
>> You need a good entry level book, that is all it takes.
>> The rest is great online documentation.
> Umm, or you are very young or completely lost your mind. Internet as we
> know today has a decade at most. The documentation you as happy use now
> didn't existe 20 years ago. But, doesn't a lot of code was written more
> than  20 years ago. How is that possible just with fucking books and
> without google.
> That is BS.
How often do you see your colleagues going to the library, or the shelf next door to grab a book while they are programming?
It has been 10 years ago that they stopped doing so.

Today, they google. Well, at least if they use another language than Smalltalk.
And I don't think there is something inherently wrong with that.

> to read
> a book in a more directed way that a simple API list and no way to see
> how is used.
All I say is that a classical book is not the state of the art in the regard.
Well written API documentation is. And well written API documentation includes examples.
And, yes, Smalltalk people know about that.

I think, books are for introduction, but not to actually get work done. I need the knowledge directly at my finger tips.

> On the other hands, the
> Pharo by example and seaside pier books or the HPI Seaside books are
> doing more for smalltalk than you want to accept.

Yes, they introduce people to Smalltalk.

But this particular discussion started after someone mentioned that he/she used python since it was easier to bridge between Pharo and Python than it was to go from Pharo to the C code directly.
That person knows Smalltalk, and is productive with it. Except for the things where he/she did not immediately found good documentation. That is the scenario I am talking about. And if I remember correctly there is even an article/book in the collection of free books on Stef's webpage that tells you how to implement primitives which could have done the job. But the problem here, he/she was just not able to find it. That's the point, and that is the problem I try to emphasize.

It is certainly good to attract new people to Smalltalk, but how does that help if you can't make the ones who already know it to stay with it? With books? I think, Stef's efforts of writing books should be supported, but the content (if it is an open book) needs to be findable on Google and Bing... And that is not everything, the text has actually be in a form that it is easily accessible on the web. Which means, links, and repetition(for some degree of redundancy). (That is also what good API documentation does)

Best regards

Stefan Marr
Software Languages Lab
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2 / B-1050 Brussels / Belgium
Phone: +32 2 629 2974
Fax:   +32 2 629 3525

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