[smalltalk-central] Some thoughts about new tutorials

Mark D. Roberts mroberts at cincom.com
Fri Sep 29 05:05:49 BST 2006

At 12:09 PM 9/29/2006, Eric Winger wrote:

>Le Sep 28, 2006, à 7:46 PM, David Buck a écrit :
>>Before we start building models, gui's. web interfaces, etc. I think we 
>>need to introduce people to the basic Smalltalk syntax and language.  I 
>>was planning to do this in a series of screencasts.
>>Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to do this effectively without 
>>making it dialect specific.  He's what I'm thinking.
>>    1) Smalltalk In Industry video
>>    2) Why Smalltalk?  - a video showing the power and flexibility of 
>> Smalltalk - why should you use Smalltalk
>>    3) Choose your Smalltalk
>>       - A video with a decision tree for choosing a Smalltalk
>>       - Shows where to get the chosen version of Smalltalk
>>       - This may be contraversal
>>    4) Setting up (dialect specific)
>>       - How to setup the chosen environment
>>       - Recommended add-ons to load
>>       - Saving the image
>#4 is what I'm thinking may be not necessary for s-c to maintain. Our 
>target audience should be able to follow an install guide which the 
>vendors would maintain. No/yes?

My feeling is, yes and no. We don't need/want to maintain complete install 
guides, but I think it would be useful to give a brief summary of some of 
the main install options and do a tiny bit of hand-holding for noobs. Links 
should be provided to the appropriate documentation. I personally have 
re-written the VisualWorks Install Guide a few times now, and it still 
seems too complex. It's true that the vendors should get this sort of thing 
right, but often they don't. Also, nothing kills the noob experience like 
being told to click through a bunch of different links and read yet another 
manual to get started. Anything we can do to streamline the experience will 

I can't speak from having made a comprehensive survey of the vendors' 
install literature, but I can tell you that the VisualWorks stuff doesn't 
go much into setting up the environment or explaining much about the image.

>>    5) Starting with Smalltalk (dialect specific)
>>       - Basic Smalltalk syntax
>>       - Literals, messages, cascades, self, super
>Maybe this is the "basic tutorial". Could we use the tutorial format to 
>introduce these concepts?

Yes, I would like to see this material in textual, tutorial form.


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