Douglas Hurst Quebbeman
Last updated at 4:19 pm UTC on 14 January 2006
Hello to everyone in the growing Squeak community!
I'm a long-time Smalltalk enthusiast, having been entranced by two articles I read in 1977, one by John Lees in Creative Computing, and the one by Alan Kay in Scientific American. The system described seemed to combine features of two systems I was using at the time- the Control Data/UIUC PLATO system, and the forth language. Of course, as I learned more, I saw that they both paled by comparison.
My next exposure to Smalltalk was the August 1981 issue of Byte, which I still own (along with print #429 of 500 of the Tinney cover litho, but I digress...).
A subsequent article in Scientific American written by Larry Tesler in 1984, describing what I think was The Analyst Spreadsheet, and an article in Popular Computing (?) on the upcoming launch of the Apple Macintosh galvanized me to learn more. So, I bought the Blue book, soon followed by the Orange and Green books. I also bought a Mac 512k in January 1985, by convincing the store to give me a 30-day net open account, and then by subsequently talking my banker in giving me a loan to pay for it, something they'd never yet done.
Soon, I saw a reference on CompuServe describing the availabilty of The Smalltalk-80 Programming System for the Macintosh, an experimental system based on the version 1 image (as most of you are aware, I'd guess). Smalltalk for $50! I spent the next 3 years hacking away, trying to learn a language that I feared would not survive in the marketplace.
After '87, I set it aside, as paying work consumed me. Then, late in 1993 (during a sabbatical I took to spend time with my parents in the finaly months of their lives), I decided to dive in again, thinking I had nothing to lose but time I wan't using anyway. I did a lot of hacking/learning during those months, the result being a few goodies I thought I'd share with the Smalltalk community. I managed to get only one such goodie uploaded before I got involved with some limited contract work.
My recent discovery of Squeak was a very pleasant surprise. Finally, I can run Smalltalk under System 7 instead of having to drop all the way back to a Mac Plus under system 5 (or was it 4?), or the PPS version 2.2 under System 6 on a Mac IIci.
One of my favorite hacks was to create some methods to add to StrikeFont to read in and convert Mac fonts to strike fonts. The first such font I brought in was the Cream font which I'd seen in the Byte articles, and which I found on a pre-release of the Mac OS I got from the store from which I bought my Mac. The disk was a copy of the technician's MacTest disk, which was at that time compatible only with what later came to be known as "The Turkey Day Finder". Along with some other fonts, Cream had been shown in the article on the Mac I mentioned above.
My Mac Font hack is similar to the one in Squeak. I relied on the user having DeRez (or SADeRez) to decompile the font into a Rez-format resource source file. Still have it if anyone is interested.
One of the last hacks I did while trying to teach myself more Smalltalk in early 1994 was a recreation of the Signals package that is part of The Analyst, based on the description of its interface in the second issue of HOOPLA (hey, whatever happened to HOOPLA and OOPSTAD?).
I see someone is busy at work doing an exception signalling package for Squeak. Nonetheless, I thought I'd finally upload this goodie, in case anyone finds it useful. It seems to work fine, but I cerainly never did regression testing on it. And to get it to work, I had to code copies of do:handle: as both a class method and as an instance method. Somehow, this seemed wrong, and may point to trouble. If anyone does feel like taking a look at it, I'd appreciate knowing how well or poorly I did. (I haven't actually uploaded it, but as soon as my ISP gets my payment and I can get back into my account, I'll put it up on my web page).
Well, that's it for now. I'm not sure how active I'll be able to be in this community, though I'd like very much to be very active.
And let me thank Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg, and all of the rest of you who've been involved for years with Smalltalk, as well as those of you who have made Squeak possible.
Oh, and lastly, if you contact me, please, call me "Doug".
p.s. My work e-mail address is mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org,
and my home e-mail address is mailto:email@example.com.