Monday, February 08, 2010

Pharo Smalltalk

This weekend I discovered Pharo Open Source Smalltalk.  It's a fork off of Squeak Smalltalk.

They claim that they'll service the bug queue faster and fix more bugs, the claim being that the Squeak queue is pretty large with slow turn around.  It also has slicker graphics (they look like the Mac) meaning a “more modern” look and feel.  They also claim to have pared down the bundled software and that part I'm not sure about yet.

I haven't used Squeak enough yet to bump into any of it's bugs.  Since it has elements of Smalltalk dating back to Smalltalk-80, I thought it was quite well debugged but there is newer code in it, so the references must be to that.  Probably network and, I bet, newer Internet- and Web- related stuff.  That's only a speculation.

The graphics do have a visual appeal.  I am actually partial to serif fonts, they are easier to read and I don't really understand why sans-serif fonts are in vogue.

A full virtual machine doesn't seem to be that big in any event, so I'm not sensitive to the smaller size either.

I'm giving Pharo a try and adding to a little exercise that I wrote some time ago.  I still sort of prefer Squeak, though.

Smalltalk is the original object-oriented language (or at least nearly so) and it's the most wonderful and pure environment one can code in, in my opinion.  I take it off the shelf every now and then to play with, but I've yet to find a practical application to do in Smalltalk.  That's it's curse, I think.  However, as it turns out, I've never found a practical use for Java either, always finding Perl or now Python to be at least sufficient and sometimes necessary.