[ANSI-Smalltalk] Project Status
bwbadger at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 10:56:10 GMT 2007
I thought it would be a good idea to put together a summary of the
work that has been done so far on the ANSI Smalltalk project. I plan
to post this to cls, so if you feel I have anything wrong please speak
ANSI Smalltalk project status - 5th Dec 2007
The first (very rough) draft of the application to start the
ANSI/INCITS project has been submitted to INCITS. The anticipated
response is a list of things we need to improve together with
suggestions for how to improve them. We have also asked INCITS about
how the project can get an editable form of the current standard and
whether using a publicly readable platform (e.g. the wiki) for
developing the text of the next version of the standard is acceptable.
The project mail list was set up with a publicly readable archive. We
currently have 67 people subscribed to the list. The mail list home
page can be reached from:
We also have a wiki thanks to Paolo Bonzini and the GNU Smalltalk
project. The wiki can be found here:
We had our first vote! After some discussion we held a vote to decide
on how the project mailing list should set the default reply to. The
alternatives were having the default be to reply to the original
sender OR to have the default be that replies go to the list. A
significant majority of those who voted wanted to have the default be
that replies go to the list, so that is how the mail list server is
John O'Keefe has volunteered to head up the errata work. The aim of
this exercise is to identify errors and ambiguities in the current
ANSI Smalltalk standard document and to compose corrections and
We discussed the importance of having a unit test suite to back up
formal standard definitions. It seems that work on such a suite has
been undertaken by more than one group in the past.
As well as holding our first vote we discussed how voting should work
and who should get to vote when. Formal votes on the standard can
only be made by members of INCITS, but nothing stops us from having
wider informal votes to get a consensus across all interested parties.
For our first vote we use Doodle (http://www.doodle.ch) and this
We are required to have a minimum of 4 people who are paid up members
of INCITS on our project. The people who have put their hand up so far
(in order of them saying so on the list) is:
Bruce Badger (independent)
John O'Keefe (Instantiations)
Martin McClure (GemStone)
Paolo Bonzini (seeking sponsorship)
Stephane Ducase (seeking sponsorship)
<someone from Cincom, we understand>
We really could do with more people, especially people from
organisations that use Smalltalk.
There has been discussion about the form the standard should take and
the tools that should be used to manage the text of the standard. The
nominal starting point is the wiki, but an alternatives have been put
forward. It has been suggested that the published form of the
standard should be derived from some more structured source form, e.g.
XML or DocBook. A bespoke system for managing the Smalltalk parts of
the document has been proposed (and an initial version developed!) by
Martin McMclure. We need to work out what option to go with and when
and how to migrate.
Ralph Johnson suggested that there be a project motto. There was much
discussion of this, but no conclusion as yet. There will most likely
be a vote to choose from a number of suggestions.
There has been some actual useful Smalltalk work done too! There has
been some detailed discussion about the handling of floating point
numbers involving Andres Valloud and Paolo Bonzini. Also, work has
started on listing the areas that need tackling and thinking about
priorities. The current list of subject areas (called "modules") is
A short video has been made introducing the ANSI Smalltalk project.
The video was made specifically for presentation at the Smalltalks 07
conference in Buenos Aries in December. A version of the video is up
on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9qBKlkUqCE.
So, not much actual progress on making a standard so far, but some
good work on building the foundations.
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