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RE: Why Images Bother People (or, at least me)

On Fri, 13 Jun 2003, Brent Fulgham wrote:

> "Closed world" environments like Squeak seem to force you to reinvent
> the world -- instead of rendering your 3D image using GNUPlot, write
> your own Smalltalk plot utility!  Instead of editing text in an existing
> editor, use the Object Browser!  Don't spell check with ISpell -- create
> SqueakSpell! (I'm jesting -- please!)

Well, there are two separate issues here - cultural and technical.
Technically, there's no reason you couldn't use GNUPlot and ISpell from
Squeak.  There's a very nifty CommandShell package that lets you mix
together Smalltalk and shell commands in a single pipeline, and do all the
typical fork/exec stuff from within Squeak.  Squeak also has an excellent
FFI facility - in most cases* it's much easier to wrap a C library from
Squeak than from Perl or Python, and you don't have to leave Squeak to do

However, there is a focus in the Squeak community on portability (one of
the major contributors, for example, works exclusively on an Acorn
machine), and so people have a very strong tendency to reimplement things
in Squeak rather than relying on external tools or libraries.  This can
have big payoffs - moving a multimedia-heavy app from Linux to Windows to
Mac OS X to Mac OS 9 to WinCE handhelds, and having it run
pixel-identically on each, has been a pretty convincing sell in the past.


*The one exception is libraries that require callbacks, which take a little more work.