"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Smalltalk and UIs

Stefan Tilkov nearly apologizes for saying...

"I can't help but wonder why VW and the apps built with it have a UI
that sucks so much. Smalltalk is pretty obviously a great language,
the development environment is great – why is there no support for
native UIs?"

http://www.innoq.com/blog/st/2008/11/smalltalk_uis.html

First, this is nothing new. Second, don't "native UIs" generall suck,
no matter what the implementation language?

But today I believe it is possible once again to say that Smalltalk is
at the forefront of user interaction. It just has more company in the
way of other languages and frameworks.

I would off as evidence Seaside, Croquet, and even the work Michael
Lucas-Smith, et. al, are doing with VW and Cairo.

Don't expect the innovation in UIs to be happening at the level of
traditional desktop widgets. Not that there's not room for improvement
there. For my money that's happening with Flash/Flex and, ahem,
SIlverspoon. As of a year or so ago there was a Smalltalk running in
both those environments, but the blog seems to have turned its lights
off.

VW could be a good VM / environment in competition with those in
search of a widespread audience, but that does mean it's a good use at
this time of development and marketing resources. So probably "Ho,
hum. Things are happening elsewhere for Smalltalk as they are for
other languages."

2 comments:

hboon said...

Did you mean Silverlight, or is there really something called SIlverspoon?

Bernard said...

I recently took a look at VW Smalltalk (after having a passing interest in Smalltalk for years). I was glad to see that they had versions for Win32, OS X, and Linux, but on installing the OS X version, I was disappointed by the fact that it didn't conform to what is probably the single must distinguishing difference between a Mac UI and everything else, viz. the single menu bar affixed to the top of the screen. I'm not even concvinced that single menu is a good idea on anything other than a teensy-tiny monitor (all the bluster of "Fitt's Law" to the contrary). However, the menus just didn't feel right on a Mac. Moreover, the menus that were attached to individual VW windows did not transition correctly. If a VW app is going to manifestly feel wrong on a Mac, then I can't consider it for cross-platform applications. I hope they will be doing something to fix that (I know James Robertson reads your blog...)

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.