[self-interest] Self vs. Squeak

Friedrich Dominicus frido at q-software-solutions.com
Thu Jun 24 09:27:13 UTC 2004

Michael Latta <lattam at mac.com> writes:

> I am still getting to know both environments after a long absence from 
> Smalltalk doing Java projects.
> I am trying to compare the two environments from several angles to 
> decide which is a better jumping off point.
> Here is what I have observed so far:
> 1) I like the Self language better, if it only had full blocks.  But, 
> both are far better than Java or C++!!!
What is missing in Self? I do not understand why you do not see the
self stuff as full blocks.
> 2) Squeak has a much more active community that can provide 
> support/help/ideas.
> 3) Squeak is far larger in terms of libraries.
> 4) Squeak runs on Windows ( an advantage for comercial projects ).
Well that all could be changed, you are right of course. 

But what I'm missing about Squeak is kind of realy good
introduction. My experiences to understand he Morpic stuff were

> What I could use comments about from anyone that has used both 
> environments:
> 1) How stable are the two environments?  While I had several stability 
> issues with Self at the beginning, they seem to be gone now.
Well did not get Self either on Mac OS X and Linux running

At least the base squeak system runs very nicely on Windows, Linux and
Mac OS X

> 2) How hard is each VM to modify?  Neither seems to have much if any 
> comments!  (bad programmers, bad programmers :-)
There exist some documentationa about the Squeak stuff out there..
> 3) The graphics model in Squeak seems to be a reasonable graphics model 
> (transforms, etc), but being all in Smalltalk how does it perform?
Well you can try it IMHO it's ok.

> I started a company that built one of the first commercial Smalltalk 
> applications (still an active product) in 1986, so I know it can be 
> done.  The issue today is higher expectations on the part of the users, 
> and far faster hardware.  While the hardware should make using 
> Smalltalk / Self easier, the graphics requirements seem to do just the 
> opposite.  A large Java project I am working on is far slower than our 
> Smalltalk app was in 1986 on a Mac II !!!
Don't you think this unfair? What does you Java do today and what did
your Smalltalk app back in the late 80ies?

I propose you send us some timings to back up this claims.

> There apparently is a Java to native code compiler for GCC that 
> produces much better performance than the current VMs, has this 
> approach been attempted for Self or Smalltalk along the lines of 
> Objective-C?  
Sorry I do not buy the superior gcc based solution. If you really do
heavy C++ programming I would bet Java and C# are not much worth than
G++. Well I have no figures at hand, but:

Sorry that is just about Java/Lisp/Scripting languages.
Feel free to flame me on that. 

> Or, are blocks and GC really the performance issues in the 
> equation?
Why do always tools for higher productivity like GC and closures aka
blocks be blaimed for any performance shortcoming. What about the
choosen algorithms, what about the many abstraction layers and and and



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