John O’Keefe (Principal Smalltalk Architect at Instantiations) gave an updated version of his talk on VA Smalltalk Version 8, introducing the new features and major bug fixes for the upcoming version 8 of VA Smalltalk.
Most important here is surely the integration of the Seaside web development framework into VA Smalltalk. Instantiations tried both Version 2.8 and 2.9 for porting to VAST.
They gave up on 2.8 in favor of 2.9 because this version is much easier to port. VAST will ship with a snapshot release of 2.9 if it’s not finished when VAST 8 is released. Once Seaside 2.9 is finished, there will be an update for VAST. Instantiatiosn will initially ship Seaside and Seaside-Scriptaculous for Ajax stuff. Other frameworks and tools might follow later or are likey to be ported by the Smalltalk community.
Also a very nice feature will be much improved Class Browsers, that pretty much resemble the state of affairs in other Smalltalk implementations. The Browsers will feature tabbed panes and sortable lists and look friendlier.
V8 will be the first release in a row of some over which the features and menus of several browsers and tools will be consolidated. This will be an ongoing process for several releases.
The product documentation will be prettier, searchable locally as well as on their site, and on the site there will be inter-release updates of the docs. The documentation will also be improved content-wise.
He also showed the current plans for Versions after V8.
- An official port of GLORP, an open-source object-relational mapping framework
- Improved installation procedures for both Windows Vista and Unix
- New and improved widgets
- Web Services tools like an XML editor, WSDL tooling etc.
- Consolidation of tools and browsers will continue
You can download his presentation here.
One of my 2 talks was about how VA Smalltalk fits into today’s corprate IT landscapes. A funny thing about many Smalltalk projects today is that many developers and managers tend to think that Smalltalk is only a suitable development environment for Client/Server or Fat Client systems.
Newer developments like web technologies or XML-based data exchange still are regarded as a pure Java domain in some IT shops. I try to show that neither Web Services or Web Applications are restricted to any language, and I show that VA Smalltalk supports these technologies very well. There are projects out there who use Web Services in production environments and do a successful job in doing so.
Most of today’s important technologies are based on only a few building blocks: HTTP as a transport protocol and some data marshalling and transport formats like XML, HTML or JSON. One very popular example currently are RESTful Web Services. They are in wide use and carry a very small backpacker of syntactic overhead as compared to “big” Web Services which can be extremely complex and hard to maintain.
In my talk I gave a little demo to show that VA Smalltalk can play with RESTful Web Services pretty nicely. I demoed a Smalltalk-based Client for Yahoo! Traffic, which is a service to request for current incidents on the roads across the US.
I also demoed a prototype of a RESTful Web Services Server which serves Smalltalk Objects as Resources. I used the generic RESTful Web Services client from the first demo as a client to the service as well as Firefox. The server used a little Object Database as a storage medium which we use for prototyping and smaller applications internally and for customer projects.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the demos on the slides, but you surely get the idea when looking at the presentation slides.
The very first presentation of the day introduced the agenda for the day and gave a very brief overview of our services.
I introduced our plans to offer Smalltalk Training as well as Seaside Training in 2009, and an initiative to support customers in finding out whether adopting Seaside for an existing project is feasible. We plan to offer to do a proof-of-concept mini-project to make it easier to plan for a Seaside transition.
You can view the presentation here.
As I mentioned earlier, Adriaan was taking photos of the event, and has put them up on his site.
I like the photos and I think they show pretty well how much fun the event was. Take the time and have a look what you missed if you weren’t there!
Thanks, Adriaan. As a presenter, you have very little nerve and time to take photos, so I am grateful for your efforts.
I’m still catching up on a few things after the event, so my posts come out a lot slower than I’d like them to. Keep coming back!