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Cincom is one of the largest commercial providers of Smalltalk, with twice as many partners and customers than other commercial providers.

Tom Nies

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The Project Launcher

Arden Thomas, the Product Manager for Cincom Smalltalk, recently discussed the Project Launcher:

A couple of things always bothered me about our installations on Windows and Mac platforms.  We would have a very attractive icon installed on the desktop, but I would never use it.  I would instead, like I believe most folks do, go to my image directory and double click on an image in order to start it up. Here’s another problem. If a newbie was exploring or evaluating the product, they would use the icon (it launches, but they would not likely be aware of the typical use pattern of:

start, save as, use the image.  

More than likely they would repeatedly use the icon, which would mean they would probably never start with a truly clean image, and it might add confusion about how to best use the product.

Enter the Project Launcher

The goal of the Project Launcher is to make good use of that desktop or launcher icon and provide the utility to both new and experienced users of the product.

What does it do?  Basically it does three things (at least for now). Much more can be added. 

  1. It allows you to create a “project” by saving a clean image as your
  2. It gives you a list of your projects (images) and lets you launch the project (image).
  3. It stores things in the right place by creating a directory in the user’s “write” space (where the product installs are supposed to be read-only).

For the experienced user, this is a convenient place to quickly and easily launch an image they wish to work on.  For those developers who like the current way they start images, the Project Launcher is completely optional and not a forced choice.

For a new user, it manages or teaches the process of naming a project (image) and about keeping a clean starting point.  It also provides a central point to launch or start any of their project images.

How do you access the Project Launcher?  Simply click on the “molecule”-like product icon that gets installed with the product.

Next time I’ll discuss more about the Project Launcher, including using automated builds with the Project Launcher.

Good Smalltalking to you!

Arden Thomas
Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager