VASTGoodies just turned 10


As Adriaan just announced on his blog,

VAStGoodies.com was launched the 27th of January, 10 years ago now. But not only that, just a few days before that milestone, another milestone was reached: the 1000th upload!

The introduction of VASTGoodies was a much-needed and welcomed addition to the Smalltalk universe. Back in the 2000’s the open source idea was getting more and more prominent in the Smalltalk world. Squeak and Pharo were around, yielding lots of great open source code. Seaside once was the landmark project for open source in the Smalltalk world and had the potential to make Smalltalk vendors agree on standards, while before Seaside, every single one of the concentrated on keeping their customers and getting people on board of their Smalltalk dialect. (Well, that’s not entirely true, IBM gave sh*t about their VisualAge Smalltalk customers back then, only cared if they were willing to port their code to Websphere).

So, where was I? Ah, yes, open source. There had been quite a few places to find and download open source code for VA Smalltalk before 2009. Some of them still exist. But you had to know them. If you wanted to share code with others, you had to find options for hosting the code and documentation.

VASTGoodies changed the game. You could find open source code, download and load it right into your library with the help of Adriaans VASTGoodies tools, which Instantiations ships with the product. And, what’s more: you can easily upload code to VASTGoodies and make it available to all other VAST users out there with just a few clicks right in your Configuration Maps Browser.

So, let’s celebrate this birthday and thank Adriaan and his employer for writing, maintaining and hosting VASTGoodies.com. It has been a place to easily find and get open source code.

A birthday is always a good opportunity to look back (checked) and also look ahead. So what’s to come?

It may sound brutal but I hope we won’t need VASTGoodies for another 10 years.

The current Smalltalk world is finally making a move towards “standard” code management systems and platforms. This is important for several reasons:

  • Smalltalk code should be retrievable by search engines and thus make Smalltalk more visible for people looking for solutions and examples
  • It should be easier to exchange code between Smalltalk dialects.There are ideas and concepts to make code exchangeable between Smalltalks, like the Tonel source format.
  • Right now, it is hard to contribute to a Pharo or Squeak code base if you are on another dialect. I still hope the VA Smalltalk world will be a little more open to the open source idea
  • Pharo and – to some extent – Squeak are moving away from proprietary souce management systems to current standard ones, like git and platforms like github. Instantiations has a prototype of a bridge to external source management systems and is working on this area.

So let me finish by thanking Adriaan for VASTGoodies and the accompanying tools and for his energy to maintain this for 10 years now. I also want to thank the contributors who uploaded code to VASTGoodies. There are quite a few very nice contributions there, like helpers for accessing the pins on a Raspberry Pi, complete code generation tools, helpers for several file formats and much, much more.