Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Exploring Pharo

There is a nice blog post about his initial experience with Pharo from Konrad Hinsen. He overall likes Pharo and especially the explorability but also has two primary points to criticize:

  1. he mentions that Pharo is not reproducible and can not be bootstrapped from its own source code 
  2. it is not easy for beginners to follow Pharo
The first point is actually invalid. Konrad seem to have missed that Pharo since two years IS ACTUALLY  BOOTSTRAPPED - so we can build a image from scratch and from our own source code. This is actualy in place and used to build Pharo now. Even smaller images (like the minimal one) beside what is provided in the default Pharo download.

People interested in this topic should read this blog post from 2014 and check the "bootstrap" folder in the Pharo github project. This is based on the PharoBootstrap work. Someone interested in this topic might also be interested in this video.

For the second point I agree as Pharo is moving fast it might not be easy to follow. Also the community is small. Due to this we can not invest our sparce resources into making things easy for newbees - but rather will continue to focus on moving forward. Especially with the upcoming Pharo 7 including better git support and the new Calypso browser many things have changed compared to Pharo 6.

But there are books available and there is the mailinglists as well as the Discord chat to ask questions and get answers. Situation is far better than in 1994 when I dived into Smalltalk and where it was not easy to get informations or even a free system to enjoy the openess and productivity of such a system.

Nonetheless - as one of the primary contributors of the Pharo project I really enjoy such blog posts. It shows we are on the right track. There is still a long way to go - but step by step it goes...

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