Levi Pearson levi at
Tue Feb 13 14:59:02 MST 2007

On 2/13/07, Bryan Sant <bryan.sant at> wrote:
> I've haven't used the tools you mentioned, so I can't come back with a
> snappy response.  I'll have to use them, and then deem them to suck in
> comparison to Eclipse/NetBeans.  I'm downloading Squeak right now, and
> plan on making an objective comparison.  If Squeak is not
> state-of-the-art, you just point me to what is and I'll take a look
> that.

Squeak has some very advanced stuff in it, including some of the type
inferencing stuff I mentioned earlier.  It has a lot of Eclipse's
features, but due to its background, they're not particularly easy to
discover, and they're not particularly pretty.  I would suggest
something more like Cincom Smalltalk or Dolphin Smalltalk, both of
which are commercial development environments with free-as-in-beer
versions for non-commercial use.  They're more geared towards
traditional application development and have much more "professional"
interfaces and toolsets.

Some background on Squeak:  When Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls, who were
the original creators of Smalltalk at Xerox PARC, got together again
at Apple, they got the old Smalltalk-80 system image and bootstrapped
a self-hosting virtual machine to run it.  It's a pretty clever
system, actually, but that's getting off on a tangent.  They
repurposed the system to develop some children's learning tools,
called eToys, using some GUI technology developed by the Self group at
Sun called Morphic.  Even after it was put under the Apple Public
License, the core developers were focused on eToys and their
educational research goals, not commercial application development.
Recently, it was switched to a more 'Free' license and there has been
greater community involvement in its development, but it's still
heavily colored by its past.  One of its big current uses is as the
host to the Croquet system, which is a decentralized distributed
computing system with a 3d virtual environment simulator built on top
of it.  It's pretty slick, but still definitely in the R&D stage.

> I do enjoy espousing the virtues of Java and debating the critics.
> For me, Java is the best.  I'm an aggressive evangelizer.  I like
> representing my point of view.  But, intellectually, I know that Java
> isn't the best thing for all people or all purposes.  To each his own.

You, an aggressive evangelizer?!  No way!

> And my blood doesn't boil when you or someone mentions the virtues of
> Lips.  That's sensational.

Ahh, luscious lips... er... oh, did you mean to type Lisp there? ;)
My blood sometimes boils (in a good way) when thinking of the right
lips, but that's not really something I want to discuss here.  Anyway,
I don't think anyone here produces the sheer volume of language
advocacy for a single language that you do, so you shouldn't be
surprised if you get singled out for responses.

> JSR 292 will make alterations to the Java bytecode format and JVM to
> make it more dynamic language friendly.

I'm aware of that, though I've heard that although it's an
improvement, it still leaves some dynamic languages as second-class
citizens.  I'm afraid I don't remember the details, though.  A little
work on the Strongtalk VM (which was recently released under an open
source license) would produce a much faster platform for dynamic
languages than JVM would be even with JSR 292, but alas, few people
seem to be both qualified and interested in hacking on it.  Strongtalk
was based on the same technology that HotSpot was, but extended
further for support of Smalltalk, which is about as dynamic as a
language can get.

> Java 7 will be even better for dynamic langs.

I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.


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