March 10, 2011
Currently, I am porting QuickSilver from ExtJs 3.3 to ExtJs 4.0. There has been a complete rewrite of much of the library and this has resulted in a great deal of work in migrating the Smalltalk widget libraries.
ExtJs 4.0 has a new class system which is more similar to the Smalltalk class system.
Smalltalk has long had the reputation for being a highly productive language. I keep wondering whether the productivity has been due to the simple language syntax or to the powerful tools available in the environment. It seems that Dan Ingalls has built a complete Smalltalk development environment
March 10, 2011
An article from a game developer publication:
At the Game Developers Conference last week, Electronic Arts and now Digital Chocolate (Millionaire City) founder Trip Hawkins worried that evolutions in the multiplatform space would pose major challenges for developers trying to earn money in emerging spaces.
The explosion of browsers onto mobile devices and the rise of cloud-based gaming can take much of the credit for why Hawkins, who was also Apple’s director of marketing prior to founding EA, believes that it’ll end up the game industry’s most central platform.
“The browser has taken over 2 billion PCs–it’s going to be taking over a billion tablets over the next few years, billions of mobile devices,” he says.
And it’ll even enter new areas: “It will end up in my opinion very strong on the television. The browser is the platform of the future,” Hawkins adds.
Cloud-based rendering is increasingly enabling consumers to access content from a number of devices whether or not they own that content, thus “there is going to be enormous growth there,” he says.
Consumers will be able to integrate that content more persistently in their daily lives and want to remain engaged with it, versus traditionally when content was segregated to the living room or to a single computer.
He is saying what I have repeated several times in this blog – the application platform has moved from the desktop to the browser/tablet/phone connected to the Internet. And this trend will continue and accelerate.
February 24, 2011
I have now been working with QuickSilver for several weeks and these are my observations:
There are two major bugs that I am aware of:
1) “self” within blocks does not work correctly.
There is an untested compiler fix for the problem.
2) there seems sometimes to be a problem associated with “super”.
I need to develop some test cases to clarify the circumstances.
Smalltalk indexing is implemented as 0-based; should be changed to 1-based
Smalltalk has the advantage of more closely reflecting the way that humans model the world.
February 14, 2011
The site http://www.silversmalltalk.com is hosted on Google’s Application Engine and runs in a Java environment.
Besides Java, there are several other languages available which run on the JVM:
- Python (JPython)
- Ruby (JRuby)
This opens a number of interesting possibilities:
1) QuickSilver can run on the Google servers
2) QuickSilver can support serialization on the server
3) Data and Functions can be exchanged between client and server with minimal encoding
Google’s “Big Table” database is a distributed key-value datastore (IIRC, so is Amazon’s S3 database) that does not use schemas.
What I have in mind here is using Smalltalk to directly define and manage data records.
Google’s App Engine is massively scalable, very cheap to run (free for small projects), and supports instant messaging using sockets.
If we can build a comprehensive set of tools – including GUI designers and database browsers – in QuickSilver, it will open the door to building whole new classes of applications.
February 12, 2011
Several people have indicated a desire to participate in the QuickSilver project. Please send me a request to participate at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message in the newsgroup at http://groups.google.com/group/silversmalltalk.
I will be setting up two additional projects:
1) QuickSilver Server
This project will provide server implementations which are designed specifically to support QuickSilver clients:
- Java server for Google App Engine
- Python server for Google App Engine
- PHP/MySql example server
2) QuickSilver Smalltalk Libraries
Smalltalk source libraries for QuickSilver tools and utilities.
February 11, 2011
ExtJs 4.0 will be released on Feb 28.
And, of course, QuickSilver will immediately be able to make use of these new capabilities.
I said in an earlier post that new programming languages often succeeded when there were major shifts in technology.
IMHO, we are at the beginning of several concurrent technology changes right now:
- the growth of scalable, pay-for-use server resources (buzzword “cloud computing”)
- cheap, scalable real-time messaging (eg Google ChannelAPI)
- HTML5 capabilities in newest browsers
- new form factors such as smart phones, iPads, and e-readers
There seems to be a faster pace of change right now than at any time since the mid-1990’s.
The perfect time to launch a new version of Smalltalk.
February 11, 2011
Above is version 0.7 of QuickSilver running in a Firefox browser. Note that QuickSilver is now running the home page of the site. QuickSilver Smalltalk is now 12 days old.
QuickSilver now supports events and callbacks and is stable enough that I have moved it to the site home page.
These are the changes to the site over the next two days:
- Developer sign-in
- Instant messaging demo
- News Bulletin Window
- Developer Forum Window
Also, I will be adding SVN support to the QuickSilver Smalltalk project on Google.
Alan Kay once said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
QuickSilver Smalltalk aims to invent the future of online communication using Smalltalk.
And the Silver Smalltalk site will be the first to use the new technologies.