Let My Smalltalk Go

At some point while building etoy and Croquet pyramids in Egypt, Seaside happened.  But the Squeak children grumbled amongst themselves rather than pursue this new promised land with fixed purpose.  Aliens who just wanted that milk and honey (Seaside) had enough on their hands learning Hebrew (ahem, Smalltalk) to be bothered  by Squeak traditions.  So the sea parted and a new Smalltalk platform arose, taking Seaside contributors with it.

Pharo [sic] is a Smalltalk platform built from Squeak.  It’s smaller and cleaner than Squeak, and is replacing it as the Seaside base in that lineage.  The development and licensing model is very deliberately a benevolent dictatorship in order to focus efforts and push the community forward more quickly and efficiently.  Perhaps democracy is overrated.

My first reaction upon downloading and using Pharo is that it’s “Squeak with a haircut.”  The look and feel is cleaner (Mac-like), and there are no bright colors and etoys.  By default, it retains Squeak’s “one OS window” presentation, but that hardly matters when you just want to do Smalltalk and use it as a Seaside platform.  The base class libraries are very familiar, and it comes with all the expected browsers and tools, like the SUnit TestRunner and Monticello source control.

Loading Seaside is just one ScriptLoader loadSeaside30 away.  It gets even easier than that: the Seaside One-Click Experience is migrating from Squeak to Pharo.  That’s further evidence of Seaside’s new emphasis on Pharo over Squeak.

For a 1.0 RC 1, it’s quite stable and workable.  I did get several tool walkbacks, but nothing that I couldn’t work around and occasionally debug.  I’ll definitely keep an eye on this as it continues marching to the promised land.

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