[smalltalk-central] Task list

Mark D. Roberts mroberts at cincom.com
Tue Sep 26 02:18:06 BST 2006

I'd like to begin assembling a task list for Smalltalk-Central. Here's 
everything I can think of at the moment.

Your suggestions and comments would be helpful. At some point, I'd like to 
find out what the members of this group are interesting in volunteering to do.

I. Content

(1) FAQ
There is no currently up-to-date FAQ for Smalltalk. This is an editorial 
project that we sorely need to do. I have started by gathering the known 
materials and placing them on a Wiki. James Robertson has made a first pass 
over the page containing vendor info, bringing it more up to date. Much 
more work is needed.

See: http://wiki.cs.uiuc.edu/VisualWorks/FAQ+in+Progress

(2) Language Guide
For the FAQ and the tutorials, we really need a "language guide" that 
explains the syntax and semantics of the Smalltalk language. The various 
dialects of Smalltalk also have proprietary extensions (special syntax for 
expressing Arrays, pragmas, name spaces, etc.) and these need to be at 
least partially documented as well. Again, there is information out there 
but it's just scattered in a million different places.

(3) Getting Started Guide
We really need a good guide for noobs who want to get started. There are 
various such documents scattered around the Internet, but most of them have 
defects (oriented towards one dialect, out of date, or just too shallow). A 
guide is needed to help noobs make a decision about which dialect to 
choose, so that they have a good experience. For example, a lot of 
commercial developers are pointed towards Squeak and then they have a 
predictably negative experience. If they want to write commercial, 
enterprise, or shrink-wrapped applications, they need to be directed 
towards VisualWorks or Dolphin.

(4) Tutorials
We've been discussing this in another thread. To summarize: we need some 
general tutorials that explain the language and basic concepts like the 
image. Then, we need some specific tutorials for the various dialects. It 
would be good to have a few different ones, written for different audiences 
(noob, Java developer, etc.), and at several different levels. E.g., 
getting started with Smalltalk, and then more advanced topics.

(5) Screencasts
David is working on this. It would be good if we could document his process 
so that others could easily make screencasts if they wish. Perhaps we could 
make some templates for the title page, and then all the screencasts would 
have a uniform style.

(6) Books and Articles
I am thinking of approaching Stephane Ducasse about locating his books page 
on Smalltalk-Central. This would be a fair amount of work, but I think 
worthwhile. Having this sort of resource on a community site instead of a 
personal one would in itself do a lot to make Smalltalk seem alive and 
well, not just some CS professor's personal hobby horse.

(7) Case Studies
We need case studies to show more concretely how Smalltalk is being used in 

II. Smalltalk-Central

(1) Site Application
There is a long to-do list already for the site application. This includes 
things like re-working all the pages to use CSS layouts, finishing loose 
ends in the Shoji CMF, implementing support for developer projects (kind of 
a mini source force, with a mechanism to read information about new 
versions directly from a Store repository, etc).

I have been doing all of this work, but we really need at least one other 
developer involved.

More information about the status of the site application is available here:


More information about the Shoji CMF is here:


That's all I can think of for the moment.

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