Deliberation topic: stuck while developing 
Author Message
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing

The intent here invite response from people who have experienced,
the not too rare experience, as I have, of getting stuck on some
point while doing Smalltalk development, and having to spend a
good chunk of time sorting things out.  This happens in spite of
the fact that I am an experienced developer.  I suspect that I am
in good company in this regard.  I attribute this to the size and
the complexity of the environment.  Typically there can be well
over a thousand classes and tens of thousands of methods. It is
pretty hard to have a complete knowledge of such a system.  If
you want dig down into the dark depths you are going to find some
things you don't understand...and maybe can't even tell if it is
junk or simply something that is not understood...agree or
disagree?

I'm putting myself a little on the line on this one, because I am
admitting that I am not perfect <chuckle>, but I can not prove to
myself that I have ever met anyone who develops and does not have
occasionally have the experience of getting blocked while
developing in Smalltalk.  If you are such a person, come out,
come out, wherever you are!

So my question is:  Is everyone in the same boat?  Have all of
you out there who have developed had the same experience?  Are
there those among you who never get stuck while developing in
Smalltalk?  Again, if so, who are you and how do you do it?

Does anyone out there have a list of skills that they believe
that is sufficient so as to never get stuck while developing?  If
so, what are they?

What do you see as the reason for such a situation?  Need for
training?  Exposure to knowledge that only the principle
inventors have?  Need for better tools?  It is just inevitable?
Simplification of the development environment? Systematic
coverage of the tools needed for development? Flaws in the
current approaches?  What?

[ my own views deleted]

What say you?

---John



Fri, 03 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing
I'm not sure that this is a problem.  I agree with you that it is impossible to maintain
expert level knowledge of the entire Smalltalk environment (actually n Smalltalk
environments :-)).  One of the reasons that the Smalltalk environment is so interactive is
to assist you in getting past these humps.  I spend a great deal of time during development
reading code from the image...either from the vendor or from other parts of the application.
 Although I am not pounding code during those times, I am increasing my understanding of
some facet of the image.

-doug-



Sun, 05 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing
John,

To paraphrase a bit:  "To stick is human, to unstick is divine!"

Everyone out there developing gets stuck once in a while, no matter
what the development environment. Be persistent, resourceful, and
especially off-the-wall when trying to crack a tough nut.

Here's to Divinity!

Michael



Sun, 05 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing

Quote:

>Typically there can be well
>over a thousand classes and tens of thousands of methods. It is
>pretty hard to have a complete knowledge of such a system.  If
>you want dig down into the dark depths you are going to find some
>things you don't understand...and maybe can't even tell if it is
>junk or simply something that is not understood...agree or
>disagree?

You don't need to understand. The only thing you need to know is what
output you will get as a response on an input and what behavior (side
effects) the class has. Of course it helps if you understand even
those things you are not supposed to...

Quote:
>I'm putting myself a little on the line on this one, because I am
>admitting that I am not perfect <chuckle>, but I can not prove to
>myself that I have ever met anyone who develops and does not have
>occasionally have the experience of getting blocked while
>developing in Smalltalk.  If you are such a person, come out,
>come out, wherever you are!

The Smalltalk is a RAD, which means that you can develop applications
very quickly and you can get lost very quickly too.
The problem is that people attempt the coding without a careful
analysis  and design which is very IMPORTANT in OO.
The Smalltalk is an iterative development system and as such one has
been abused and misunderstood.

Quote:
>So my question is:  Is everyone in the same boat?  Have all of
>you out there who have developed had the same experience?  Are
>there those among you who never get stuck while developing in
>Smalltalk?  Again, if so, who are you and how do you do it?

I was in the same boat 1986 - 88. Later when I learned Smalltalk by
heart, I could leave that boat.

Quote:
>Does anyone out there have a list of skills that they believe
>that is sufficient so as to never get stuck while developing?  If
>so, what are they?

Never say never. You can get stuck even if you are an expert. But it
helps to master some OO-design methodolgies, to obtain some good
OO-CASE tools and talk to people about your problems.
ATTENTION!!! Talk to programmers about your problems, not to managers
unless they have been programmers too..

Quote:
>What do you see as the reason for such a situation?  Need for
>training?  Exposure to knowledge that only the principle
>inventors have?  Need for better tools?  It is just inevitable?
>Simplification of the development environment? Systematic
>coverage of the tools needed for development? Flaws in the
>current approaches?  What?

Smalltalk development environment is a stone age one. It's time to
move to the iron age.

Quote:
>[ my own views deleted]

You can delete my views too...

Quote:
>What say you?

Have a nice day

Quote:
>---John

*******************************************
*    Vlastimil Adamovsky                  *
*  Smalltalk and C++ development          *
*******************************************


Mon, 06 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing
Excerpts from the 'Deliberation topic: stuck while developing'

Quote:

>.
>.
>.
>I was in the same boat 1986 - 88. Later when I learned Smalltalk by
>heart, I could leave that boat.
>.
>.
>.
>Smalltalk development environment is a stone age one. It's time to
>move to the iron age.

>*******************************************
>*    Vlastimil Adamovsky                  *
>*  Smalltalk and C++ development          *
>*******************************************

I guess I was surprised and confused about the last comment, 'a stone age'
development environment.  In my opinion, the Smalltalk environment is a great
one.  Features like incremental compilation, interactive debugging/inspecting,
interface building, and the ability to modify the environment (to name a few)
put it at the top in my books.

Maybe I have low expectations from an environment, but the Smalltalk
environment gives me what I want in an environment.  It hides a lot of detail
that I'm not typically interested in and yet allows me to see that detail and
even modify that detail if desired.  To me, that is an environment that gives
me the freedom to do the tasks I need to do.  Granted, there is a learning
curve, but since you have learned Smalltalk 'by heart' I wouldn't expect that
to cause you problems.

Maybe you could expand on what you'd categorize as a 'iron age' environment.

By the way, despite the fact that some mistake my signature for being a slant
on ENVY, I think that ENVY provides a great configuration management
environment for large Smalltalk projects!
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Bannerman                    | Applied Reasoning Systems

(205)403-1141 - BellSouth, B'ham   | (919)781-7997 - Raleigh, NC
-----------------------------------------------------------------
"A heart at peace gives life to the body,
 but ENVY rots the bones" (Proverbs 14:30, emphasis mine)
-----------------------------------------------------------------



Mon, 06 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing

Quote:

} I'm not sure that this is a problem.  I agree with you that it is impossible to maintain
} expert level knowledge of the entire Smalltalk environment (actually n Smalltalk
} environments :-)).  One of the reasons that the Smalltalk environment is so interactive is
} to assist you in getting past these humps.  I spend a great deal of time during development
} reading code from the image...either from the vendor or from other parts of the application.
}  Although I am not pounding code during those times, I am increasing my understanding of
} some facet of the image.
}
} -doug-

I would agrue that what you are doing is highly productive. One of the
major benefits of ST is the ability to reuse code. It therefore
follows that becoming familiar with what is there can only help. In
our office it is standard policy to spend some time "playing" in the
image and to share an nuggets found. This has the added benefit of
giving your mind a break from pounding code, and that alone can help
you find solutions to problems. And then there is the sheer joy of
exploration and discovery . . . Imagine the added productivity from
happy programmers. :)

john
____________________________________________________

ICAN Systems Inc.              Voice: (604) 852-6941



Tue, 07 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Deliberation topic: stuck while developing

Quote:

> In my opinion, the Smalltalk environment is a greatone.
> Features like incremental compilation, interactive debugging/inspecting,
>interface building, and the ability to modify the environment (to name a few)
>put it at the top in my books.

 Everything you enumerated is not unique for Smalltalk environment.
Smalltalk language is very powerful one, that's why I am surprised why
the development environment is not better. Of course Digitalk and
VisualAge have PARTS (I don't know how it is called in VisualAge).

VisualWorks does not support event driven model as Digitalk does.
Visual application builder, included with VisualWorks is not suitable
for effecient development. Still you have to write lot of code.

What I like in VisualWorks is the dependency mechanism. which is
really powerfull.

Another think, that I don't understand, is why must resources like
winSpec, menus etc... be part of the image?

They, as well as anything else should be LOADABLE on demand. Here I
have a reusability in mind.

We have also another star, it is Digitalk Smalltalk.
There, if you want to design for example an input form, you have to
generate a code for that form or window . It is not necessary since it
can be filed out as a object (the have object filer) .

Still, in all kinds of Smalltalk you have to write lot of code
manually.

I wrote a GUI builder in Smalltalk/V 1.1  that stores result of your
design persistantly as a bunch of description objects. Very complex
input form design (with pop up menus, icons etc.) takes cca 800bytes
till 2kB.
Shortly, when code is generated by various Smalltalk code generators,
my product doesn't generate code at all.

I only write code when my product asks for it. I simply fill out
templates prewritten by the product.
In my product I can define wheather response methods will be written
in C-language or Smalltalk or both.
I am going to release the product (it has been written 5 years ago) as
a Shareware. The next version will be written in C++ or Envelop,
because it actually doesnot matter what language the programmer will
use, since he will write code only seldomly.

If anybody is interested, I can e-mail short description (40 pages) of
the product, which is not 100% finished. (I have to port it to ST/V
2.0, it will be the last version I will suport).

Quote:
>Maybe I have low expectations from an environment, but the Smalltalk
>environment gives me what I want in an environment.  It hides a lot of detail
>that I'm not typically interested in and yet allows me to see that detail and
>even modify that detail if desired.

         ^^^^^^^^
I you subclass it, it is OK. If you have to modify it, then you are at
the begining of the dead end.

Quote:
> To me, that is an environment that gives
>me the freedom to do the tasks I need to do.  Granted, there is a learning
>curve, but since you have learned Smalltalk 'by heart' I wouldn't expect that
>to cause you problems.

I doesn't. Neither C,C++ or Envelop does. I only try to contribute
with my opinions to a bright future of the Object Oriented
development. Still I have not seen a winner among the development
systems..

Quote:
>Maybe you could expand on what you'd categorize as a 'iron age' environment.

The iron age envoronment should be logically better than the stone
one. More visual development, less programming, more reuse of the
prefabricated "components".

Quote:
>By the way, despite the fact that some mistake my signature for being a slant
>on ENVY, I think that ENVY provides a great configuration management
>environment for large Smalltalk projects!

It is true, ENVY is a great third party product.

*******************************************
*    Vlastimil Adamovsky                  *
*  Smalltalk and C++ development          *
*******************************************



Sat, 11 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 10 post ] 

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