Last updated at 2:53 pm UTC on 16 January 2006
The Inspector is an essential Smalltalk tool. It is used to inspect the contents (instance variables) of a live object. You can also use it to send messages to an object.
To open an inspector, highlight an object or snippet of Smalltalk code in a Workspace or other text window, and select "inspect it" from the pop-up menu. (or use alt-i)
For example, open a Workspace and type 3@4 into it, then highlight this text and "inspect it".
This will open an inspector window on the object, with the object's instance variables in a column on the top-left, a variable display area on the top-right, and a code area on the bottom. In this code area, you can send messages to the object, by entering something like self printString or self printString asSortedCollection and then alt-p or alt-i.
An object with an open Inspector will not be garbage collected.](Note that the "chase pointers" feature [of the Inspector] can be misleading as it is assumed that for this feature you are interested in "all but" the reference paths starting from the inspector you hold).
The Object Explorer is a newer hierarchical alternative to the traditional Inspector.