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Cincom Smalltalk Gurus Presenting at ESUG

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Edinburgh, ScotlandThree Cincom Smalltalk gurus, Andrés Valloud, Julian Fitzell and Martin Kobetic, will be presenting at the European Smalltalk User Group (ESUG), which will be held on August 22-26, 2011 in historic Edinburgh, Scotland.  These three knowledgeable experts have a wealth of information to share, and we hope that you’ll be able to attend their talks.

The following are abstracts of their talks, as well as a brief bio on each.

VisualWorks Object Memory Management

Andrés Valloud


We tend to take garbage collection for granted. However, it is a critical factor that affects application performance. At times, it is difficult to tune the delicate interaction between the VM and the image with regards to object creation and reclamation because there are many moving parts. This presentation provides a clear picture of how object memory is managed in Cincom® VisualWorks®, shows how several enhancements have made the tuning task significantly easier and much more rewarding, and discusses several key improvements that will make VisualWorks even better in the near future.


Andrés Valloud has been developing using Smalltalk since 1996. He won the 2006 Smalltalk Solutions Coding Contest, ran the competition in 2007 and 2008, is one of the organizers of the Smalltalks conference, is a founding member of the FAST foundation, and has written books on Smalltalk. He currently works for Cincom Systems as a lead VM engineer.

Andres writes about a variety of things at


Cincom® ChannelStream™: The Challenges of Continuously Delivering

By Julian Fitzell


Cincom has been delivering ChannelStream—its Document Output Management product—continuously to customers almost since day one. Using Smalltalk, a small team was able to turn out regular working iterations at an amazing pace. As the project grows and team members are added, we continue to manage regular deliveries. However, automation has become increasingly important and the effort required to integrate common build automation tools with our Smalltalk development environment is a real challenge.

This case study will discuss our progress toward build automation and continuous delivery and will highlight issues we faced, solutions we found, and challenges that still remain. It will also ask whether the Smalltalk community should be integrating with existing tools, collaborating on a made-for-Smalltalk solution, or carrying on the current roll-your-own model of application deployment.


Best known as one of the creators and current maintainers of the Seaside web application framework, Julian currently works for Cincom Systems in London, UK.


Native or External? (Lessons Learned in Implementing Cryptography for Cincom® VisualWorks®)

Martin Kobetic


VisualWorks has cryptographic libraries backed by both native implementations and external libraries. In this talk, we will discuss both solutions including their advantages and drawbacks. Drawing on the experience of implementing both, we will conclude with some general considerations for deciding between the two approaches.


Martin Kobetic has been a member of the Smalltalk development team at Cincom since year 2000 working primarily on various networking and security frameworks. Prior to that, he worked on TOPLink for Smalltalk (object relational mapping) at The Object People. He received his MSc in computer science from the Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia in 1995. Martin presented a number of times at various Smalltalk events mostly on topics related to his work at Cincom Systems.


Making the Past Serve Your Future

Niall Ross, Dirk Verleysen and Andreas Hiltner, Cincom Smalltalk Engineers


It has been claimed that Ruby-on-Rails means when you come off the rails, you are in the wilderness―all of that speed is suddenly replaced with hacking through a jungle. One such jungle is caused by legacy apps that you must exploit and can’t replace. Ever been in a customer discussion like this?

“We need you to build us this new web app yesterday. By the way, the new system must get a little of its data from the old X app, and write some to it―and the same for the old Y app. No, we can’t replace those apps for years yet; other units depend on them. No we don’t have schemas for their relational database back ends; our staff knows what the data means when it appears on their screens. We got them as minimum budget bespoke a few years back. Not sure that the companies are still around. Dave in IT support knows something about it. He says the core of Y was written by a foreign company and the table and column names aren’t English. We’ll retire them eventually, but in the meantime, we’ve got to add this new web app for the new function now.”

We will present a specific medical domain and a specific web application where this kind of thing is all too real of a problem, making it hard to deliver vital new functions into an existing situation. Cincom Smalltalk’s tools combine the Active Record pattern with the Glorp framework. The approach is specifically designed to keep you moving fast when you are off the rails in the legacy jungle. Using this specific example, we will walk you through how we do that.

The talk will show how a wide range of Cincom Smalltalk functions (modeling, RDB-mapping, web applications) interact to deliver a functional increment.

Niall Ross
Niall ended his undergraduate career with two intellectual interests: computing and the theory of relativity. A quick check of how much commercial work was available to relativity and gravitation theorists made him decide to do academic research in that field and then seek a commercial job in computing, rather than the other way round.

In 1985, Niall started working commercially in IT. He was at first assigned to designing and implementing software engineering process improvements, and only three years later he began to write and deliver commercial software. This experience taught him that intelligent people can sometimes form foolish ideas about software engineering if they have not worked at the coding coalface of real, large commercial projects. Learning from this, Niall spent the nineties working on software to manage complex, rapidly changing telecom networks. A side effect of this work was that it taught him much about how scale and rate of change affect software. Early in the nineties he discovered Smalltalk. The more he used it, the more he came to recognize its power in this area. This perception was strengthened when he spent a year delivering a telecoms management system in Java.

At the end of the decade, Niall formed his own software company to offer consultancy in meta-data system design, in Smalltalk and in agile methods. Over the next decade, he worked on a variety of meta-data-driven systems, mostly in the financial domain. He also led the Custom Refactoring open-source project and recently the SUnit open-source project.

Niall joined the Cincom Smalltalk Engineering team nearly three years ago. He leads the team that does the weekly VisualWorks builds―an experience he likens to doing brain surgery on yourself every Friday (e.g., “prepare new memory, remove old memory―uh, I can’t remember what I was going to do next …”).

Dirk Verleysen
Dirk has 23 years of experience working for various industrial and consulting companies and doing projects in different Smalltalks (Cincom® ObjectStudio®, VisualWorks, Smalltalk/V and VA Smalltalk). Some of the many companies Dirk has consulted for include Fabelta Ninove, Infosoft, Sanpareil, Roots, KBC Assett Management, Argo and ADP.

Dirk joined Cincom Systems, Inc. in 2008 as lead developer for the Modeling and Mapping Tool in ObjectStudio. The Modeling Tool allows a business architect to design and generate the framework for a software system using a powerful UML base tool. The Mapping Tool connects your Smalltalk objects to relational databases the easy way. It also allows an easy connection from relational databases to objects and applications using the object relational mapping technology GLORP.

Andreas Hiltner
Andreas started his career at the IT academy of Germany’s largest mail-order company. Besides knowledge in mainframes and *NIX systems, he soon became an expert in distributed transactions, parallel-processing and databases servers. He is currently the lead VM engineer for ObjectStudio Smalltalk, in addition to having a hand in most aspects of base image and database development. He works from home near Nuremberg, Germany, where he just recently returned after spending five years with his family in the US at Cincom’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Along with many contributions to ObjectStudio over the years, he was the project lead in Cincom’s development of the current 8.x versions of ObjectStudio, based on VisualWorks. Andreas is a seasoned architect who has specialized in Cincom ObjectStudio for almost 15 years. In his years of working with Cincom he has had the opportunity to assist key Cincom Smalltalk users worldwide including one the of world’s top 5 financial institutions, and several government agencies.”