Download this patch. Automatic delivery of patches has a small bug, or I would arrange to have this delivered automatically. Once we get the next release out, patches should be delivered that way. For now, just save the file above into the BtfPatch directory, and the system will load the patch at startup.
I still see a number of messages - in email and in newsgroups - that go something like this:
We are using VW 2.5.2 for our application, and would like to use the newer features of VW 7. How do we go about upgrading?
Well, start by reading here. I went through awhile back and documented the changes between various versions of VisualWorks, and posted the results. More usefully, I posted the scripts I used - you will probably want to run the chnage scripts yourself, in order to get any specific changes you made (I used vanilla VW images in all cases, with only the pacakges loaded that were defaults in 2.5.x). It's a lot easier to upgrade than you think - this is Smalltalk, not Java!
Before anyone else is awake (yes, we do sleep in in this house!). I doubt I'll be blogging much today; there will be too much cooking and eating later. So Happy Thanksgiving all!
I stumbled across an interesting point of view on why things like generics haven't caught on in Java:
I think that this view is a bit optimistic, it's been noted before that language features don't really catch on unless they're integrated into the language, e.g. Garbage Collection in C++. It's certainly possible to build a garbage collected system in C++, and there are commercial implementations (I think one prominent vendor is named Great Circle), but hardly anybody uses GC in C++. So the fact that hardly anybody's using third party extensions to Java isn't an indication that people don't want them; they either don't know they want them, or they don't want to use a third party extension. Especially given that Sun put so much effort into promoting "100% pure Java", it's not surprising that nobody's shown much interest in creating a "better Java". Sun's created a situation where their imprimatur is crucial for language features to be accepted by the wider audience of Java programmers. So development focuses on the platform, where extension is encouraged, rather than the syntax, where extension is discouraged.
The whole thing is here. I think this catches an interesting difference between the Smalltalk developer community and the developer communities for other systems - especially Java and MS based ones. It's not that developers don't ask Cincom (or IBM, or Object-Arts, etc.) for additional features; they do. It's that they don't sit around and wait for them. The entire Smalltalk culture is built around a more self reliant, do it yourself kind of credo, whereas the mainstreamers tend to sit back and wait for the promised delivery from the vendor. Maybe that's because Smalltalk is simpler, maybe that's because Smalltalk has always left itself more open to extension - no final classes or primitive data types here, for instance.
Whatever it is, I think it makes for an overall smarter community of developers.
This story has Sun reviving the x86 port of Solaris. Sure, this is where Sun should be spending their dollars, competing on the commodity end with Linux and Dell. At the very least, I'll enjoy the additional drag this will give Sun.
Another Thanksgiving is just about here - and I am girding for guests again. My wife and I managed to arrange things such that we never travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas; our relatives come here. This is a decidely mixed blessing - I don't have to drive anywhere and fight horrible traffic and airport crowds, but I do have to help prepare the rather large volume of food. And then there's always the huge stack of dishes to clean up, not to mention the days of Turkey leftovers. Still and all, better than traveling on the holidays, I think.
We released BottomFeeder 2.5 today. We made a lot of enhancements to this version - including making the menus more logical and context driven. The major fix was in the handling of merging new items into the existing cache of items already received - with some internal feeds, some bugs in this code surfaced. Those are fixed now. Suggestions on what else BottomFeeder could use? Send me email
BottomFeeder 2.5 is just about ready to go - we are testing one or two more things before release. There's been a longstanding problem with the way it identifies new items coming in - and we think we finally have that problem nailed. Look for 2.5 shortly!
My wife and daughter headed out to a party on Saturday, so I had plenty of time to add features to BottomFeeder. We have a project member writing a user's guide - and his questions have helped a lot, pointing out areas of the application that were clear to me, but not necessarily to others. I did take some time to hop on the web and buy a new ReplayTV. The holidays and my wife's birthday are upon us, and it seems that we are sufficiently potato-like that the 40 hour unit wasn't enough. So, the 80 hour unit is now incoming, ready to be hooked up to the other TV and the house network. I have some trepidation about that; the A/V setup in my family room is already confusing, and now I'll have to wire in a new component. Meanwhile, I'm convinced that the remotes are up to something when I'm not looking - there's always more of them floating about....
If you take a look at the presentation I'm giving in Brazil, you'll notice that I'm going more on the offensive than Smalltalkers normally do. Well, here's my rationale - being accomodating and merely talking about interoperability hasn't helped. Look at Apple's switcher campaign, for instance. They aren't apologizing. They aren't talking just about interop. They are touting all the reasons why they feel Apple is a better solution. This is what I think it's well past time that the Smalltalk world did. Interop is great, and necessary. But it's not a compelling reason to use Smalltalk. Heck, if all I cared about was interop, I'd just use Java. Instead, we need to point out how and why Smalltalk is better. Talk up the productivity, and demonstrate to doubters how Smalltalk is more productive. Start touting - as Apple does - that Smalltalk is a premium brand, while Java is the commodity. There are plenty of developers who are pleased as punch about using a premium brand option - just look at all the Apple notebooks you see now at trade shows. That's where Smalltalk needs to go, and we need to take it there. Don't apologize - explain.
Ok, I said I wanted comments on my draft presentation for the trade show I'm speaking at - so here's a link to my draft. any and all comments welcome!
Wireless connectivity at starbucks with my Mocha. mmmmmmmmmmmm
Unless I find a wireless connection later. I have to head down to Washington to get a visa for my Brazil trip next month. Starbucks says they have Wireless connectivity - I guess I'll find out.
We had some entertaining problems over the last few days, but I think we have worked through them. We have:
- Added a search capability. You can now search for keywords in the feeds - titles and/or bodies
- We got the feed images to show again. There was an oddball issue with accessing the widget in a subcanvas, which we addressed
So now I can have it looked at for comments. I plan to talk about XP practices, and why they arose in Smalltalk (as opposed to, say, C++ or Java). In fact, I doubt that XP ever would have arisen in Java, and I don't think it can ever be optimal there...