[self-interest] Performance figures interesting

cstb jas at cruzio.com
Wed May 10 06:10:08 UTC 2006

At 08:38 PM 5/9/2006, Michael Latta wrote:
>It is definitely not a good idea to take such a micro benchmark too
>seriously.  This was just what I had available that could be run on this
>many different Smalltalk VMs.
>I would think that the two machines are basically well matched in
>performance, given similar architectures and clock rates for CPU and memory.
>If anything the Mac should be faster given the 1Ghz FSB per CPU.
>What did get my attention is that the Self version we have (10 years old) is
>not keeping up with even the more simple implementations available from
>Squeak and VisualWorks.  I expect that the Klein VM will do better, but even
>that will only have research level support, so there will be lots of things
>that never get done.
>I am struggling with the issues of better technology vs. industry momentum
>on many levels these days, and this is just one example where the lack of
>resources seems to be limiting the success of the technically better
>solution.  I like the concept of Self better than Smalltalk (directly
>manipulating instances rather than all behavior and structure organized into
>classes), and I much prefer Smalltalk to Java or C#.  Unfortunately the
>expectations on all applications are rising and the Smalltalk based
>technologies are not keeping pace. 

Specific areas that are/will/might impact you?
(other than UI?)

> The UI frameworks in Smalltalk can not
>do the things that WPF in C# can do.

Such as?

Also, have you tried Dolphin Smalltalk? (windows only).
The UI is excellent.

>  The level of polish on VisualWorks is
>not competitive with Eclipse for Java.

Depends how one defines polish.
Yes, VW is still playing catch-up in terms of look-and-feel.
But it still eclipses Eclipse in terms of operation.
Which version of VisualWorks?

>  At the same time I can solve
>problems faster in Smalltalk and do things that the more mainstream systems
>can not come close to doing.
>For Smalltalk to survive

"survive" is perhaps not the right concern.
It has so far outlived ALL the competition (in years of service),
and still processes a large percentage of the world's 'critical'

> it needs better connectivity to other technologies


>like Java, C#,


> and web services,


> and there needs to be more invested into
>making it competitive in terms of quality and performance. 

Seems to me the performance is ok.
And the quality is extraordinary.
VW needs a facelift, which is well underway,
but yes, more investment would be nice -- 
a catch-22 lurks here, however.
Squeak has problems here, too.

> While users do
>not generally care about what technology a product is built on, the IT
>department does.

But which is the more sane reaction?

>  In the enterprise space it needs to fit in.

Politically, technically, or how?

>  In the
>end-user space it needs to look credible compared to other applications.

Ideally, sure.  For windows only, Dolphin is highly credible in this regard.
Which is superb -- but -- they only need to keep pace with Windows.
Cross platform UI technology is more difficult -> requires more resources.

>Morphic under Squeak is the most polished of the UI options for Smalltalk,

Morphic is the most *interesting* UI for any development environment,
but Dolphin is the most *polished* of the UI options for Smalltalk.

>but does not use native windows,

  (Dolphin does)

> and Visual Works which uses native windows,

  (VW doesn't -- that's cross platform emulation, switchable to any
   look and feel on the fly.  It is 'behind' the times, because the
   VW team size was reduced to single digit for a number of years,
   and the the GUI languished.  That situation has improved, but it
   will be another year or so before you'll really *see* the result.)

>still has 10 year old refresh bugs that make it look very unprofessional.


>For standalone computers like you are building Jecel it makes more sense
>than for applications trying to exist in a Microsoft/IBM dominated world.

Desktop?  Yup - you may need to use Dolphin in this environment.

Headless server?  GUI is irrelevant, and VW beats most comers.

>Smalltalk is what got me into computers, 

  You lucky dog ;-)

  Some of us went the long way 'round the barn...

>and I have not found anything I
>like better,

I'll drink to that.

> I just hope I can find ways to keep using it professionally.

Simple.  Don't leave home without it.

Ah - you want income, too, I suppose?
That's a bit tougher.  Chin up, fight the good fight.
Support the producers of good tools, so they'll produce more.
Resist attempts to migrate (sic) without a rational business case.
Teach someone to program in Smalltalk.  Start a Union.
Bang the drum at every opportunity. It will get better.



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