Instantiations has just released VA Smalltalk Version 8.5.2. As the version number indicates, this is more or less a maintenanc release with a number of bug fixes and enhancements.
But there are also new features in this version, the most important from my perspective are:
- Code Assistance now available in Inspectors:
The addition of Code Assist was a productivity booster for me. I got so used to this little friend that going back to older versions of VAST felt somewhat awkward. I was constantly waiting for the suggestions to pop up. Getting available variables and methods in the Inspector makes life even easier now.
- Monticello Importer added
This could be the beginning of a little wave of new open source contributions to VASTGoodies.com. Now that it’s become a little easier to load Smalltalk code from Monticello repositories, at least the lowest hurdle for porting code from Squeak/Pharo to VA Smalltalk is gone. Instantiations made the Monticello Importer available as a beta/preview feature some months ago, but now it is part of the product. If you wonder what the process of porting code to VAST using the Monticello Importer, you could go back to this post of yours sincerely and start porting code from squeaksource or, better, squeaksource3, right away, thus making our lives with VA ST a little more fun.
I really hope Instantiations will also consider building a tool for the opposite way: we need to move closer to the rest of the Smalltalk world and we need the ability to contribute fixes to open source projects and should also be able to release VAST goodies for other dialects. You may not have realized yet, but there are quite a few nice goodies coming from the VA Smalltalk community that might be of interest to Squeakers or Pharoers.
- Support for Time zones introduced
Oh, the joys of handling Dates, Times, Daylight Saving Time and Time differences. What else should I say?
- System>>#getProcessId added to retrieve the pid of the running process
This one goes back to a question I asked on the VA Smalltalk support group. It can be very handy to know the PID of a running Smalltalk image, especially on a web server that needs to take control over what images are running and/or need to be stopped or restarted.
- GLORP updated to version 0.4.190
Unfortunately, I have no idea what this version number means. To my knowledge, Glorp has the versioning scheme of the VisualWorks version it ships with. So this might still be some quite old Glorp version. I had to fix a number of issues in the Glorp version that shipped with VA Smalltalk over the last few months, but still I find Glorp to be a very powerful and nice framework, even though I sometimes find the code hard to understand (so I still have unresolved issues due to my inability to fix them). But it is good to see that Instantiations is updating Glorp and thus offers a current and powerful relational database framework for VA Smalltalk. Glorp sure is the current gold standard here in the Smalltalk world, since it is now supported on all major ST dialects
Where to get it?
VA Smalltalk 8.5.2 is available immediately and can be downloaded from Instantiations’ website. If you are a registered and/or paying user, you can simply download it using your registration details. If you’d like to purchase licences, you can either contact Instantiations or one of their resellers ( as it happens, my company is a reseller for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Benelux countries) for more details.
Use VA Smalltalk for free?
Did you know VA Smalltalk is free to use for personal / evaluation purposes? Simply register with Instantiations for download credentials. Instantiations also gives away licences with email support for educational institutions and for open source committers. Visit their website for more details.