Hello! (or, What's the best way to learn Self?)

Casey Ransberger casey.obrien.r at gmail.com
Mon Dec 27 05:56:16 UTC 2010

Forgive the newbie! I've been lurking for awhile, figured it was time.

I found Squeak about three years ago, and it tied a lot of loose threads
together for this particular token SIGPLAN weenie. I've read most of the
Self papers, and am fascinated/awed by the object model. In a lot of ways
it's close to an ideal to me.

Smalltalk had this strange, unexpected effect on me: it crystalized things
for me in a way that hadn't happened since Lisp, and before that, assembler.
A lot of my preconceptions about programming disappeared into message
passing, it's one of those new ideas that subsumes and unifies a set of old

I'm really excited about Self, because it attacks the few things that were
hurdles for me when I was learning Smalltalk. What's the difference between
a Class Variable and a Class Instance Variable, and why would a Class
Instance Variable be different from an Instance Variable? And WTF is a "Pool
Dictionary" anyway? It seems we don't speak of them for some reason:P

It's really good to see so much buzz around the system. When I first started
reading about it, Self was a dead language, one of those mysterious wonders
I would hear spoken about with reverence in mostly empty halls, lost to a
microprocessor gone out of vogue, and only present like some distant, unseen
celestial body, in the influence it exerts on other objects in its domain.

Now I'm hearing about new releases and it works on x86! Thank you!

I figured I'd ask what a good starting point might be for picking up the
syntax and UI: I grok the object model pretty well (I think.)

Casey Ransberger
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