Little VAST improvements: Saving a Part


Sometimes when I work with VAST (or any other tool, of course), there is a little annoyance or something that makes life harder than it should be, but its not important enough to complain about or shout out loud and ask for a fix. Such things should be written down and collected soemewhere on a list, so that you remember them when the time has come to talk about all these…

Just a minute ago, I pressed Ctrl-S the four-hundred-thousand-seven-hundred-ninety-eighth time in the Composition Editor just to find out that it doesn’t work. It’s Ctrl-F2, a key shortcut that relates to some very dated OS/2 – guideline (I think it was called SUA or something), even before there was this shift-insert, ctrl-insert annoyance in OS/2. Maybe you like me are old enough to only slightly remember.

So if someone out there reads this blog and works on improving the Compositon Editor in VA Smalltalk, please take a second to check the menu shortcuts.

These days, chances are that people are more familiar with Ctrl-S, Ctrl-X/C/V and such …

3 thoughts on “Little VAST improvements: Saving a Part

  1. Ben,

    you are correct about the fact that over time people live with such little annoyances, and each time they fail with it, they simply think “o sh** I keep forgetting about this for decades now, I should know by now” and continue their work. It’s just that this disturbs your workflow. Just a tiny break in your train of thoughts, nothing more. But these add up oer the day and make you develop a relationship of love and hate to your tools😉

    Speaking about the Composition editor. You are right about the differnce between the difference between the code editor (which is still called script editor following the VisualAge philosophy) and the Compostion Editor as well as the Public Interface editor. But on the other hand, the CE and PIE also have different menus than the SE (SE=Script Editor). That’s another chapter which constantly annoys me if I need to “Manage Application” or search for Class References and I am on the CE instead of the SE. It’s no secret that I’d love to see the Class/Part Editor completely redesigned. It’s been an attempt to provide some interface which was kind of the first of its kind, but other standards have evolved for such interfaces in the meantime.

    But back to the small steps:
    For me, a menu shortcut like ctrl-s should save the thing I am working on. And if I am workin on the CE, Ctrl-s should save the part, and if I am on the SE, it should save the code.
    On the other hand, maybe the error lies in the fact that saving a part is not only saving something but also generating code. That probably boils down to what you said: Ctrl-F2 is different from saving a method.
    Still I’d prefer to press Ctrl-s to simply save my changes, because that is what I think of: I added a text field and promoted its object property, now I want to save that change. But if Ctrl-S had different semantics on the different editors, I’d have to switch views just to save “the other” changes, which is also not good. So in the end Ctrl-S should simply save both, the code and the visual stuff, which has its own problems.
    So thinking about this a little more, I think the Class Editor needs a complete redesign😉

    1. > It’s been an attempt to provide some interface which was kind of the first of its kind, but other standards have evolved for such interfaces in the meantime.

      Actually for its age it does a pretty good job defining an interface – though its only class based.

      I have no real hope to see any improvement here, simply because one has to be compatible and there is no standard out there … but after all introducing “official” interfaces to VA would be a big step into mainstream developers.I do not think, that there is much love with that idea at Instantiations – perhaps simple due to the fact, that there is no standard out there

  2. Joachim,

    I am old enough to remember ctrl-insert, shift-insert. In fact i still use them today, can not get used to ctrl-c, ctrl-v.
    Mostly i try to avoid shortcuts because every program has it own proprietary list of shortcuts an i do not want to remember every one.

    On the other hand it never fails to suprise me how many people keep up with “little” annoyances and work around them. Especially people working with computers, including myself.

    However, in smalltalk we are very able to “fix”things ourselves. I can send you the code to add the ctrl+s to the composition editor file menu, if you are interested. The Ctrl-F2 is probably chosen to prevebt a conflict in the script editor view of the composition editor Ctrl+s saves the script (method), Ctrl+F2 saves the part.

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