Regard All Phenomena As Dreams


Squeak: The Wild Wild West of Smalltalk

I had first encountered Squeak a few years ago, and tried it out. It has some very interesting strengths and weaknesses.

Some strengths: It's free, which is always a good thing, and seems to have quite an active following. The ambituous Croquet project is one example, with its emphasis on collaborative development/multimedia/etc. in a three-dimensional 'world'. The author Mark Guzdial has a couple excellent books that, while getting a little dated, still have lots of great information. There's also an emphasis in the Squeak community (if not a main focus) on using it as an educational tool for teaching coding and more to children.

Some less than strong points: When you first start it up, IMHO there's no other way to describe the interface than U-G-L-Y. Garish colors and unaliased fonts really make a harsh first impression. (It looked a little more refined on OS X, but the PC distro is a real eyesore.) There are themes, alternative fonts, etc. that you can download/install to make things much nicer, but in doing so I managed to really hose things, which leads to another minus: it can be a touch unstable. (Especially with an ignorant newbie like me blundering about.) I'm sure that with a little knowledgeable effort, the appearance can be greatly improved. I'm just worried that alot of people have/will get really put off by the initial look-and-feel of it.

Squeak is fun to poke around in, and is a great choice if you're on a budget. But, I wanted to see what else was out there, and so have also been looking at other Smalltalk choices recently.

(A quick note for those who haven't read my blog sequentially: I'm still playing 'catch up' with these posts on my adventures with Smalltalk. These are still covering events/decisions that have happened over the last couple weeks. In other words, my blog isn't "real time" yet.)


Post a Comment

<< Home