[Etoys] EToys as textbook/exercise replacement ?

ΠΕΤΣΟΣ ΧΡΗΣΤΟΣ chrispetsos at sch.gr
Sat Jul 7 04:40:56 EDT 2007

Just want to state my personal experience with all these to our friend 
I used squeak and etoys this February for the first time...The truth is 
that at start using (and programming in etoys) was a bit frustrating, 
especially if you are an OO developer or you 've never used a 
dynamically-typed environment like Smalltalk. My feeling is that the 
squeak environment is more "loose" than a "traditional" programming 
environment (like Emacs you said) and this can be both good and bad. 
For instance, you can disable all keyboard input by commenting a single 
line in a class browser...i mean that you have the power to do all 
sorts of low-level things (and mess them up quite much). This is normal 
for a squeak starter. From my point of view, in general you should 
consider squeak more like an autonomous operating system than a simple 
programming environment (i think there was a case where they tried to 
port in a machine as a sole opertating system, not under a VM).
Now in terms of development, smalltalk gives all the power of OO 
development (you can apply design principles and patterns, do some 
refactoring etc.) and yet be fun and always handy. Also, for a 
functional progammer the thing that i believe is most confusing at 
start is that there are no explicit execution flow control structures 
(like if, for, while etc.). Yet, all flow control is done by message 
passing...you can find many useful tutorials as Hilaire proposed that 
can sort all these things out.
You can find a tutorial for java programmers here


helped me a lot at start, cause you can kind of see mapping from java 
programming to squeak programming.

Starting with some tutorials and creating a few simple examples on your 
own i believe that will give you a good learning curve in a two months 

Good luck and have fun...


> 2007/7/6, Orestis Markou <orestis at orestis.gr>:
>> It seems interesting, but still I can't find how to develop for
>> Squeak. Is there a tutorial that explains the differences between
>> Squeak and Java/Python ? I'm feeling really dumb looking at Squeak. Is
> This is a normal felling. Smalltalk is not complicated, it is in fact
> easier, but first you have to accept a few paradigm shifts: 'image
> based'  vs 'file based', 'pure OO' vs 'mix of functionnal and OO'.
> What make Smalltlak easier are these paradigm shifts. So for example
> if you are an Emacs user like me you should forget about it for
> Smalltalk programming, it is just not applying.
> Another important stuff is that most of Squeak is written with itself,
> you may first think as an anecdote, but the impact is huge: for
> explorer like you and me it helps to discover how classes and methods
> are used in other part of the image. Again this paradigm shift help to
> increase hugely the developer productivity.
> A first place you may want to look for Squeak programming is
> http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak
> Regarding the Smalltalk development environment, there are few video
> tutorials there, take a look it may help you to get an idea about
> Smalltalk IDE
> http://community.ofset.org/wiki/Outils_et_frameworks#Videos_tutorielles
>> it all drag & drop ?
> No. What is mainly drag&drop is the end user interface for kid like
> EToys. Behind the scene it is Smalltalk programming.
>> I found out that I can drag & drop images (took me ages :), but I
>> really want to make an automated procedure since I have to port around
>> 900 exercises, I don't want to do it by hand...
> Squeak looks like a good choice for that, but well, you will have to
> learn programming with it and it may take some time. Why do you want
> to do that with Squeak if you don't know it?
>> What should I do to run DrGeoII ? I downloaded an .mcz file, but I
>> can't do anything with it.
> Hum , under linux I drop the .mcz file in the Squeak running image,
> then accept "load it" (or something like that, sorry I don't remember
> the exact name)
> Then do a [Allt]+o on the Squeak image, an object distributor will
> show up, go on the graphic category and drag'n drop the DrGeo icon any
> where you want to get your geometric canvas.
> Of course it is possible to use programmatically, but this is another story.
>> I really think there should be a tutorial for content developers on
>> the OLPC platform...
> The Squeak one apply. For example I am writting DrGeoII with Squeak-dev3.9
> Oh by the way, if you want to do programming I strongly suggest you to
> start with the Squeak-dev image the community are maintaining, these
> version of Squeak come with all the developer extension you want
> From http://www.squeak.org/Download/ search for Squeak-dev
> Hilaire
> _______________________________________________
> Etoys mailing list
> Etoys at lists.laptop.org
> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/etoys

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