[self-interest] Quiet in Self land?

Casey Ransberger casey.obrien.r at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 07:17:06 UTC 2014

Nope, unless you consider "stealing ideas from Self while singing in the
shower" to be interesting Self work (I don't.) Nice to hear a heartbeat on
the list though.

You asked a question about what might make Self more fun to hack on. I'm
just going to rattle off the first few things that popped into my head.

Web development framework. Okay, so that isn't really fun at all, but it
*might* create some new interest in the project.

Mother of Stupid Ideas: do a web browser and fire 90% of the operating
system, which is nowadays a life support system for a web browser anyway.
I've been wanting to do this in Squeak since I arrived unwashed at the
threshold of the mysteries of the message send. In Self, though, one of the
ideas I had could really work better than in any other system presently:
one could use direct, live manipulation of the morphs that comprise a web
page to edit the actual page in a WYSIWYG fashion, and then use a variant
of the object transporter, maybe with some parsing expression grammar
sauce, to idea send a message which makes the page recursively render
itself as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. It's like FrontPage, but without all
of the suck! Of course, we'd need recruits, so...

Bad idea from professional experience: make it social. In the run up to
Facebook eclipsing everything righteous and humane, we got a lot of play
just by taking an existing thing and adding social/game features. GitHub
has been enormously successful bringing this stuff into the programming
world. It seems like the main problem with Self is that almost no one
(except Smalltalk programmers and professional VM hackers) has even heard
of it. Sticking a viralish microblogging widget into the image and maybe
some instant messaging stuff alone could do wonders with regard to snaring
bright, malleable minds to help build the future.

Interesting, timely idea: Juan Vuletich just released a sneak-peek[1] at
his new vector-based Morphic implementation. The renderer is currently
written in Smalltalk -- so, slow -- but the idea is that we're going to
adapt it to Slang so it can be translated as a VM plugin in C. The most
interesting thing is, his algorithm[2] is unique. It's based on signal
processing theory, and provides crisper rendering than anything I know of
currently on or off of the market. One of the goals behind the work is to
realize a truly zoomable user interface. Do you think that a zooming
interface free of pixel complications would make the large contiguous Self
world easier and more pleasant to navigate? I do! Forget the desktop pager
if I can just zoom out, right?


Idea for which I will not hold any resentment when rotten tomatoes are
thrown at me: I wish Self was more portable. I wish that all the brilliant,
living people who made real live object systems go fast could combine

(ducks slightly)

(nervous silence)

What if we retargeted Self to run above the Cog/Spur variant of the Squeak
VM, and then focused some effort on implementing the necessary bits on ARM


(drowns to death in tomato juice)

Okay, those were my ideas for the night. Hope you enjoyed reading them as I
did writing them:)


On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 7:03 PM, Chris Double chris.double at double.co.nz
[self-interest] <self-interest at yahoogroups.com> wrote:

> It's been pretty quiet on this list, so I thought I'd start a
> conversation to see if the list is working. Anyone doing any
> interesting Self work?
> I sidelined my VNC client in Self for a bit due to getting busy in my
> day job but plan to get back to it soon and finish it off. It's pretty
> close. The missing part is mostly key handling.
> I'd like to tidy up my Android patches too and get them submitted so
> at least Intel android would work out of the box.
> What do people feel would make Self more viable as a fun project to hack
> on?
> --
> http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz
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