Monday, September 20, 2010

ESUG 2010 in Barcelona

This year's conference logo was designed by my good friend Patty Gadegast.
I just returned from the European Smalltalk User Group conference in Barcelona, Spain. It was a really nice experience. There was too much going on to report everything here, so I will just pick some favorites.

Photo by Bert Freudenberg

The event was hosted by citilab Cornell√†. It started off with a Camp Smalltalk over the weekend. I already met quite a few people there. I couldn't mingle as much as I hoped to because I had to get the first Etoys 4.1 release candidate out of the door:
Photo by Adriaan van Os
Close by was "Yokohama Wok", a Japanese/Spanish restaurant with the best all-you-can-eat buffet imaginable. You could have everything from freshly cut ham to sushi, grilled steak or seafood, bread, pasta, rice, fruits, cake, desserts.
Photo by Bert Freudenberg
I talked to Stef (president of ESUG) and gave him a Squeak Etoys button, which he ended up wearing the whole week:
Photo by Bert Freudenberg
We also played together in a 2-on-2 Magic game (which we promptly lost ...):

Photo by Bert Freudenberg
On Monday I gave my Squeak Community Update talk, outlining what has happened in the Squeak and Etoys communities lately. Got some nice comments afterwards, including the request to give an  Etoys demo the next time. I of course used Etoys to give the presentation, but did not really include an Etoys introduction for people who had not seen it before. But I got a slot in the "show us your projects" session on Tuesday where I made up for that with a 10 minute demo.
Photo by Adriaan van Os
Gonzalo Zabala and his students from Argentina presented Physical Etoys:
Photo by Adriaan van Os


I also liked the Xtreams presentation by Martin Kobetic:
Photo by Adriaan van Os

I was session chair on Wednesday morning, so I could see Travis' update on Pango text rendering from the first row. Would love to have that in Squeak, but it only builds easily on Linux:
Photo by Adriaan van Os

But the most exciting thing on Wednesday was of course that Physical Etoys won the ESUG Innovation Technology Award:
Photo by Adriaan van Os
On Thursday, I participated in a panel discussion about open-source licenses, organized by Julian Fitzell and Jason Ayers of Cincom.
Photo by Adriaan van Os

In the projects session, Ricardo demoed some of his Etoys work done during Google Summer of Code:
Photo by Adriaan van Os

Besides showing his graphing tools, the comic-like bubbles were a favorite with the audience:
Photo by Adriaan van Os

Dale showed the beginnings of Bibliocello, a repository for Monticello packages that can actually analyze them. You get to search implementors and senders across all packages, take statistics etc.
Photo by Adriaan van Os

And at the end of the day, an exciting demo was given by HwaJong Oh, a Smalltalker and iPhone developer from Korea. He demonstrated Drag-and-Drop for Squeak Tools, e.g. dragging the object held in an instance variable directly to another inspector.
Photo by Adriaan van Os

He also used cool animated mind-maps for his introduction:
Photo by Adriaan van Os

The highlight on Friday was Lukas' Helvetia presentation. I particularly liked the integration of PetitParser with the Smalltalk tools.
Photo by Adriaan van Os

All in all it was a rather refreshing conference at a great location with interesting people. Looking forward to next year's ESUG :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Squeak Etoys on iPad

In preparation of making Etoys work on the recently announced OLPC tablet, I ported it to the iPad. Here is a video—read on below for some details:



This might look exciting, and it certainly is, but it feels actually a lot more clunky than it looks. You may have noticed the little target circles I added whenever a finger touches the screen. That's to know where exactly the finger hit. It's really hard to hit anything, took me a while of training to hit the colorful halo handle buttons on first try. We really need to redesign the user interface before giving this into the hands of kids ...

But for now, some technical details: John McIntosh ported the Squeak Virtual Machine to Apple's touch-based OS last year (source available at isqueak.org). I modified it slightly to enable multi-touch and keyboard input. Also, I rewrote his code to deal with touch events in Squeak, and added multi-touch handling to Morphic. Fortunately, Morphic was designed to handle multiple "hands" (pointing devices) from the beginning, so adding this was much easier than in a system that assumes there is only one mouse. That's why moving multiple objects at the same time, and painting with more than one finger, just works once the events are in the system.

So far this is just an early test. We should work on improving the Etoys touch UI in next year's release. The Sugar menu bar works fine, but everything else is way too small. At least we have the luxury of being able to test Etoys already—getting the rest of Sugar running on a touch device might take a while. Hopefully OLPC will have developer machines soonish. If this test has shown one thing, then that there is lots of work to do (and it may even be necessary to start over).

Monday, January 04, 2010

How to write a Sugar activity in Squeak/Etoys

Milan just started a blog describing how to write activities in Squeak, see his first post. There are already a few of these, most notably the games by Robert Hirschfeld's students at the University of Potsdam, Germany. But so far the process is only documented in mailing list posts. Way to go, Milan!