Monday, August 29, 2005

VERY interesting videos

Following a link from the Squeak-dev mailing list... I watched theses two videos (a presentation in two parts) by Alan Kay, circa 87 ... They are brilliant, and extremely interesting. Definitely something to view !

Part 1

Part 2

(ps: Squeak is an incredible environment, and Seaside is a fantastic web app framework running in Squeak... worth your time..)

addendum: Interesting PDF about PARC's work ...

addendum 2: another interesting video, an interview of alan kay.


Anonymous said...

I still find squeak's look too toy-like and bad UI design. And I've read that morphic is not really fast...

What I'd like is a smalltalk-cocoa binding, to be able to develop apps with both smalltalk as an implementation language and a UI consistent with the system. Shouldn't be too hard since objective-c is so smalltalkish, and I care more about UI consistency with the system than the everything-is-in-smalltalk policy. Well, at the moment. Smalltalk is right in just too many points to be wrong in this one :)

Nicolas said...

I'm not very fond of morphic myself -- the look is awful, the toolkit frankly not so great (it apparently used to be small and easy, but with etoys it's not a behemoth), even if it let you do very cool stuff (transformation on the views -- rotation, scaling, etc.) and is impressive in some way. But well, OpenStep api is head and shoulder above imho..

And I agree, many apps aren't sporting a fantastic UI (still imho). Even if there's two features that are absolutely fantastic: 1/ the project workspace/view where you can simply zoom into a project to enter it 2/ everything is persistant, so no need to restart all your apps, etc. Just restart squeak and you end up exactly as you were. It's one of the cool thing having an image-based environment...

What is great with Squeak is that's it's a very good free (and open source) Smalltalk implementation, with lots of code available (as they use to say, when programming in Smalltalk, you usually pass more time removing/modifying available code than adding new one..). And of course, Smalltalk is just incredible, particularly the development tools (the refactoring browser and the debugger are fantastic). The whole Smalltalk way of developing apps is just a pleasure (this kind of approach is similar to the REPL -- Read Eval Print Loop -- idea in lisp, and that's indeed a great approach).

In short, I'm really fond of Smalltalk -- as a language, it's so clean, so simple, so powerful... and as an environment (particularly as a development environment, here to test new ideas..).

But, indeed, the image-based approach, while really useful, has also some problems; it's a bit isolated.

Objective-C is a great thing in that sense, because you can reuse and integrate existing code easily in it. And yet have the same type of OOP than Smalltalk, more or less. Plus, GNUstep+GORM (or Cocoa+IB) are just ideal to build applications.

I would love a Smalltalk binding too, and actually... we have one ! there's a GNU Smalltalk binding for GNUstep; there's also StepTalk with the Smalltalk bundle (and with the StepTalk palette I wrote.. it's rather close to what you want); Marcel Weiher is apparently working on a Smalltalk that use the ObjC runtime in order to have a full integration (actually, the StepTalk palette works in a not-so-different way..); on OSX you also have Ambrai Smalltalk, which is a Smalltalk implementation dedicated to OSX (a bit like Delphin Smalltalk on windows...). Sadly, Ambrai lacks some tools, and moreover, use Carbon, not Cocoa (!!!).

Anyway. In the very short term, either via Marcel Weiher's Smalltalk or via an improved version of the StepTalk palette, you'll have just what you want, I think...