In this episode we talk to tim Rowledge about his work on Smalltalk VMs over the years, especially for the RISC OS Platform and ARM machines.. The latest and probably hottest thing in this arena is his port of Squeak to the Raspberry Pi. This is not only cool in itself, but more importantly enables Raspberry Pi users to use Scratch and EToys on this little machine on RISC OS (the Raspbian Linux version existed before). You can probably imagine how much fun we had in recording this session.
For more info on Scratch you can visit the Scratch Homepage.
There's also a Scratch Forum on the Pi website.
This once more is a little long, but we found so much valuable and interesting info in this gem that we couldn't remove anything without feeling like betraying our listeners. If you want to dig deeper on things we've discussed with tim, visit some of these links:
We start the fresh year 2013 with an interview with Stephane Ducasse from Inria, who started the Pharo Smalltalk project with a bunch of Smalltalkers as a fork of Squeak a few years ago. Pharo has come a long way since then. The community is currently working on Pharo 2.0 which has been released as a beta just a few days ago.
Aside from the product evolution of Pharo, we cover the new Pharo Consortium and Pharo Association, two organizations that were founded last year to achieve several goals:
create a formal steering committee for Pharo's evolution
gather Pharo users and put more steam into the Pharo Smalltalk "marketing" engine
collect money to pay engineers who develop Pharo
Stephane gives us a few details on the goals and relationship between the two organizations.
We finish with a discussion of Smalltalk's future.
This short text is a only poor summary of this inspiring discussion, so you better listen to it and learn a lot about what is going on in and around Pharo Smalltalk. Just a few keywords that we talk about:
Where does Pharo come from and where is it heading
Continuous integration and CI servers for images and the Smalltalk VM
This episode is a novelty in many respects. First, we managed to get closer to 45 minutes than ever before. But more importantly, we interviewed Johan Brichau from inceptive and yesplan about two very interesting topics in one single episode.
Johan tells us about his teaching and researching history with Smalltalk in Academics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université catholique de Louvain and a very successful project he did after his time at VUB and UCL: Yesplan.be, a planning system for event organizers that has reached quite a customer base in only two years. It is a GemStone/Seaside based application that is offered as a Cloud service. We chat a little about his team's experiences with developing in Pharo Smalltalk and deploying on GemStone as well as the kind of environment they host their application on. Besides its very snappy Graphical User Interface, YesPlan delivers value by being tailored to the needs of cultural institutions like Vooruit in Ghent.
Which happens to be both the first customer of yesplan and the place where the ESUG conference 2012 took place. And here we are, in the middle of the second topic: what does it mean and take to volunteer as a local organizer of the annual ESUG conference. Johan gives us some insight into quite a few topics:
when the planning and organization typically starts for a
what the job of a local organizer is and what is typically done by
how much work it is to do organize an ESUG conference
what the requirements for an ESUG conference venue are
what the ESUG board needs from a local organizer (resp. an organizer
team) to decide whether a place is good for the conference
So this episode is perfect for you if you either would like one of the next ESUG conferences to take place closer to your place, make the conference even better than it was over the last few years (as if there was much potential for that), or if you ever wondered how much work is being accomplished behind the scenes to make the conference the success it has been for quite a while now.
Johan explicitly asked us to mention here that he plans to compile a todo-list with experiences and known pitfalls for people interested in organizing an ESUG conference, so that it puts pressure on him to really do it one day in the not too far future. Who are we to not do so?
There's an addition that Johan asked us to add:
I forgot to say that there is always a call for student volunteers that is published on the conference website. So people who want to be a student volunteer should respond to that call. Second, there also is a checklist on the ESUG website that mentions all elements that should be part of the proposal to host the conference. It's here: http://www.esug.org/wiki/pier/Conferences/informationstoprovideforhostingesugevent
In Episode 21 of Smalltalk Inspect we talk to Seth Berman, Senior Software Engineer at Instantiations about his career in and out of the Smalltalk world and his start at Instantiations in May 2011. First, we lift one of the best kept secrets of the JWARS project before he tells us a bit about some of the projects Seth has worked on before joining the VA Smalltalk engineering team at Instantiations. We chat a little about how different it is to work on a development tool than it was working on a "normal" project, and whether and how providing support to developers changes life as a developer.
A very well-received addition to VA Smalltalk called VA Code Assist was mainly Seth's work - and reason enough for us to try and get Seth aboard. This slick and nicely integrated syntax completion tool made coding in VA Smalltalk much better and nicer than it sounds in the first place. He goes on to explain that Code Assist is not the end of the road for Instantiations and that they are just starting to work on improvements to teh VA Smalltalk IDE. Of course, we couldn't resist adding a few ideas to the list.
We talk about the target audience for Instantiations and the Smalltalk market as it looks from the company's perspective, the lack of visibility of Smalltalk in the academic world (which is probably less true in Europe than it is in the U.S.) and get some insight into Instantiations' current highest priority projects: the VM and VASTs support for operatings systems of the future.
Willkommen zu Episode 20 von Smalltalk Inspect. Diesmal ist es ein Interview mit Stefan Krecher, der uns in den letzten Wochen und Monaten durch einige interessante Blogposts aufgefallen war. Er hat verschiedene Ansätze ausprobiert, Smalltalk als alleinige Programmiersprache für Anwendungen auf Android-Geräten zu nutzen. Ansätze, die zumindest prototypisch gut funktionieren, gibt es verschiedene:
Redline Smalltalk: Android ist ja bekanntlich vor allem eine Google-eigene Java-VM namens Dalvik. Was läge da näher, als sich eine Smalltalk-Implementierung anzuschauen, die nativ auf einer Java-VM läuft. Komischerweise haben wir über diesen Ansatz gar nicht allzu viel gesprochen
Squeak auf Android (ein Fork des ursprünglichen Squeak on Android): Ja, das gibt es. Squeak und Pharo können auf Android laufen, sind dann aber - wie eben auch auf dem PC - durch ihre sehr eigene Implementierung von Widgets ein bischen "fremd" anzusehen. Ausserdem sind sie nicht gerade leichtgewichtig.
GNU Smalltalk nativ auf dem Device mit einem Binding an SL4A (das Scripting Layer for Android): Stefan hat "einfach mal" GNU Smalltalk für Android cross-kompiliert. Und es läuft auf seinen Geräten. Das hat ihn ermuntert, SL4A aus GNU-ST heraus anzubinden und damit native Oberflächen für Android zu erstellen. Das ganze läuft sehr stabil und klingt absolut vielversprechend, auch wenn es noch nicht perfekt ist.
Also wieder mal eine super spannende Angelegenheit.
Wie immer freuen wir uns über Kommentare, Anregungen und Themenvorschläge. Wie hat Euch diese Episode gefallen? Habt Ihr ähnliche oder ganz andere Erfahrungen gemacht? Schreibt uns Kommentare oder mailt uns an. Auch wenn Smalltalk Inspect langweilig und überflüssig ist, würden wir gerne darüber bescheid wissen. Wir könnten dann vielleicht unsere Zeit in ein Blog für Schmetterlingszüchter oder einen Bierdeckel-Podcast stecken...