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Smalltalk Digest: October Edition

Posted on in Categories Smalltalk

Smalltalk Digest

Welcome to the October 2020 edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest.  In this valuable edition, we will talk about the following:

  • To Understand the Present, You Have to Know the Past

CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS

  • Don’t Lose Out on Budget Next Year. Use What You Have before It’s Too Late!
  • How the Cincom Smalltalk Team Communicates to Our Customers and Partners
  • Customers and Partners, We Are Listening!

BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS

  • History Shows that What Seems Like Sacrifices Might Be Blessings in Disguise
  • What Is AppeX, and How Can It Help Web Programmers?
  • Are You Ready to Try Cincom Smalltalk?
  • An Upgrade to the Lego Blocks of Application Development
  • Frequently Asked Questions about MacOS and Cincom® VisualWorks®
  • Where Do I Go for Cincom Smalltalk Resources?
  • Have You Engaged with Us on Social Media?

To Understand the Present, You Have to Know the Past

Matt Rocker, a documentary filmmaker who focuses on stories about music, technology and subculture; Daniel Krasner, a technologist, photographer and former research mathematician with a focus on topology and homological algebra; and Eric Gade, a historian and programmer, are creating a documentary that explores questions such as: Has personal computing lived up to its promise? Has this ever-present technology increased our potential as human beings? 

The film will provide a unique perspective gathered from interviews with the pioneers who helped to invent personal computing and the role of computers in society. As Matt says, “No documentary has comprehensively examined this history from the perspective of the key contributors.”

Matt and his team filmed their first three interviews in November of 2019 and created a “teaser” that is being used as a proof of concept and as fundraising material for further filming. In this teaser, M. Mitchell Waldrop, PhD., author of “The Dream Machine”; Michael Grisham, PhD., Psychologist and former head of Human Factors research at Bell Labs; and Diana Merry-Shapiro, programmer and member of the legendary Learning Research Group (LRG) at Xerox PARC were all interviewed. Diana Merry-Shapiro was key to the development of the Smalltalk programming environment that revolutionized software development.

  • Watch below for an exclusive teaser of this film or click here.

Time is running out to get involved. At the time of this writing, 139 people, including the Cincom Smalltalk team, have contributed over $20K to this documentary film. However, the Kickstarter project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of $25,000 by Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 5:14 a.m. EDT. For more information about the film and to learn ways you can contribute, click here.

CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS

Don’t Lose Out on Budget Next Year. Use What You Have before It’s Too Late!

In “Five Tips for ‘Use It or Lose It’ Budgets,” Eric Thomas of CIO Insight discusses some ways that IT managers can improve the management of their budget processes. Eric talks about “use it or lose it” from his perspective:

“I often hear (the phrase ‘Use it or lose it”) from my clients. … The phrase relates to their IT budget; if they don’t spend their money in the current year, it goes away the following year. … The impact of ‘use it or lose it’ or, more aptly, ‘spend it or lose it’ is most acutely felt during the budgeting process.”

With only a few months before the end of the calendar year, do you have “use it or lose it” funds that you need to spend before the page turns to next year? As a Cincom Smalltalk customer or partner, here are a few quick ways in which you can spend that budget while improving the value and profitability of your company or application:

  • Product Upgrades – Customers and partners shouldn’t risk a critical upgrade to a learn-as-you-go, in-house approach. Our senior consultants know the small, impossible-to-document steps that make the difference between an unresolved task and a completed process.
  • Mentoring – It’s easy to learn the basics of installing and using Cincom Smalltalk. However, the most productive use of this sophisticated, pure, object-oriented application development suite is achieved best through customized mentoring that is developed to meet customer and partner needs at their level of experience.
  • Troubleshooting – Whether it’s identifying and resolving a processing glitch or improving a performance drag, we have experts who can work with customers and partners remotely and/or safely masked on-site to re-create the problem and then provide an alternative, viable approach.
  • Performance Enhancements – A performance-enhancement service reveals how a team is using Cincom Smalltalk, which aspects of the tool they are not using and how they could energize so many more existing capabilities. This service is shaped to meet specific customer and partner needs with defined objectives, clearly delineated areas to review and documented results and recommendations.
  • Migrations – Our Services Team can move customer and partner application suites to the most productive Cincom Smalltalk programming environment, giving them fully scalable, web-based and client-server development enhancements.
  • Proofs of Concept – If customers or partners are not sure whether Cincom® ObjectStudio® or Cincom VisualWorks is the tool they need, a proof-of-concept, using their own data and meeting their business goals, will provide that last element of confirmation.

So what are you waiting for?  The clock’s ticking on your budget! Contact the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team right away to get the process started before it’s too late.

  • Want to learn more? Check out this video from Suzanne Fortman, the Cincom Smalltalk Program Director and Engineering Manager as she discusses some ways to be fiscally responsible when spending your “use it or lose it” budget.

How the Cincom Smalltalk Team Communicates to Our Customers and Partners

Henry Winkler once said, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” 

Our brains love to categorize everything we see. It’s how we make sense of the world around us. It’s also one of the big reasons we make so many assumptions. We try to understand what people are saying and why they said it and fill in the in-between blanks with assumptions. The problems come when our assumptions are wrong.

We never want to assume that our customers and partners automatically know where to find what they need. It’s easy for companies to tell their customers to simply “go to our website” to find something. After having real conversations with our customers and partners, we understand that we need to take it one step further. Instead of telling our customers and partners to just go to our website, we created a helpful “Resources” page that has unique links and descriptions for things they would be looking for. 

On this useful page, customers and partners can easily see how to upgrade their products to the current release of Cincom Smalltalk Version 9, promote customer and partner offerings for resale and add value for their companies. They can also find customer and developer programs and services, videos, tutorials and places to subscribe to helpful periodicals like the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions newsletter.

You can find all of these resources, programs, product information and more listed here.

Cincom Smalltalk Resources

Customers and Partners, We Are Listening

Charlie Kaufman said, “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.” 

Listening is one of the greatest tools to combat the assumptions we just talked about and one of the greatest components of effective communication. Maybe what we share each month in the Cincom Smalltalk Digest is not enough, or you would like to see different information. We are here to listen! As a customer or partner, do you have any feedback for our team? Is there some content or information you would like to see on our website, on our social platforms or in our newsletters and periodicals?

Please send your comments or suggestions to the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com

BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS

History Shows that What Seems Like Sacrifices Might Be Blessings in Disguise

The year 2020 is unprecedented and scarred by negativity and fear—the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Facing an enemy that we can’t see while trying to protect ourselves and our families can be a stressful and overwhelming task. We are here to tell you, it’s not all been negative. Take a deep breath, relax and let’s spend a few minutes thinking about some positive things that have come out of this pandemic.

A quick look at history tells us that things almost never go back to the way they once were after periods of disruption similar to our current pandemic. In fact, the times of greatest hardship and suffering in our past have almost always yielded positive, unexpected changes. For example, after World War I, airplanes became stronger, faster and more resilient; photography, sound recording and advanced communication were all developed; and there was positive progress for women’s rights. A similar thing happened in World War II. Jet engines, computer navigation systems, microwave ovens and the means to put us on the moon all came from technology invented or improved during the war. The same can be said of the Great Depression, the Spanish flu and so many others.

Springwise has put out some intriguing stories about innovations that have come from our current pandemic. A few of these ideas include LED face masks that mimic patterns of the mouth“Tree-House School” designed for the COVID eraa touchless tech platform to integrate with museums for COVID-era visitsholographic menus and pay points for safe, touchless food ordering and COVID-proof cinema seats, Wes Anderson-style.  

Another positive coming from the pandemic is the exploration of creative and engaging formats being developed for events. From drive-in meetings to year-round virtual convention centers, event coordinators are doing what it takes to keep attendees feeling safe and able to engage. As you can guess, much of that creative, “out-of-the-box” thinking comes in the form of re-imagined meeting formats, with virtual options being the most widely popular. 

These new meeting innovations give all of us the ability to attend more conferences, meetups and sessions—things we may not have had the time or budget to do in the past. It even gives us the opportunity to research and find other interesting meetings to attend and participate in that we may not have previously considered.  Gone are the days of planning out travel, accommodations and food. There’s no need to block out days on your calendar, book flights and schedule car rentals. From the comfort of our homes, we can meet people, network with industry peers, discover new prospects, learn about competitors or learn a new skill.

In the olden days (you know, before March of 2020), a limited number of people could go to meetings because of budget, time restrictions or some other mitigating factor. Now, having virtual options, companies get way more bang for their buck. Anyone can attend free sessions, and many more can participate in discounted sessions, saving companies time and money while still benefiting from the networking, prospecting and skills development these events provide.

Another benefit of attending virtual conferences and meetings is being there to support those who may be speaking on behalf of your company. Before, fellow co-workers could only hear stories about their colleagues speaking at in-person conferences or watch a video of the talk after the fact. Now, it’s entirely possible for entire product groups, teams or the whole company to be in attendance virtually in support of their representative. A perfect example of this is last month’s UK Smalltalk User Group Meetup, which we will discuss below.

What Is AppeX, and How Can It Help Web Programmers?

Over the past few months, we’ve been promoting a Cincom-led talk for the monthly UK Smalltalk User Group Meetup. This meetup takes place once a month and has seen steady increases in attendance over the summer months as the event coordinators re-opened it in a virtual setting. 

During the meetup, Cincom engineers Niall Ross and Vlad Degen gave a presentation on the subject of “AppeX: Writing JavaScript in the Cincom Smalltalk IDE.” It was an opportunity for attendees to:

  • Learn about AppeX, the lightweight, flexible web app framework for Cincom Smalltalk that allows developers to utilize and integrate current web frameworks like HTML5 and JavaScript
  • See AppeX examples
  • Understand:
    • How AppeX works in the Cincom Smalltalk IDE
    • How to run and debug AppeX with Chrome

As you can see in the video below, Niall talked about using AppeX in the Cincom Smalltalk IDE to learn, code, build and deploy JavaScript, while Vlad, the veteran JavaScript expert on our team, demonstrated using AppeX with Chrome to inspect and debug.

The meetup had nearly 80 attendees and was a good mix of Cincom Smalltalk personnel, customers and partners, along with seasoned Cincom Smalltalk and Smalltalk developers and other curious onlookers. Niall and Vlad’s talk was scheduled to last two hours, but the topic was interesting to the group, prompting the Q&A portion to run well past the allotted timeslot. Not only were there plenty of questions asked at the end, the positive dialog and networking that took place throughout the meetup was also encouraging.

If you were not able to be in attendance, here’s a great opportunity to go back and witness it for yourself in its entirety. Watch the meetup below or click here.

Niall Ross, Vlad Degen – AppeX, 30 September 2020 from UK Smalltalk User Group on Vimeo.

Are You Ready to Try Cincom Smalltalk?

Cincom Smalltalk has been a powerful force in providing value, simplicity and dependability―essential elements in promoting the success and growth of our customers’ and partners’ businesses. This success has not gone unnoticed, and we’ve seen a recent surge in our Personal Use License downloads as well as eager developers who are jumping on board and partnering with us through our REV Program.  We want to offer those same opportunities to you:

Try Cincom Smalltalk─ A great opportunity to try Smalltalk! The Personal Use License of Cincom Smalltalk makes it easy for someone to learn and become familiar with our technology.  The Personal Use License is free for you to use for your own private use for exploration and experimentation. 

Listen as Suzanne Fortman discusses the value you can create using Cincom Smalltalk here.

Curious?  Click here to start exploring Cincom Smalltalk and all that it can do for you.

Buy Cincom Smalltalk─ A great opportunity to take your idea to the next level and create your own business! This popular program is an affordable investment that was created to give you a low-cost opportunity to partner with Cincom and receive all the benefits of being a customer. As a Cincom Smalltalk customer, you receive:

    1. Access to the full products, the current release (Cincom Smalltalk Version 9), for 1 year/12 months
    2. Full support for the products during the 1 year/12 months
    3. No long-term commitment until you’re ready to deploy your solution. If you need more information, contact the Cincom Smalltalk STAR Team.

Listen as Suzanne discusses the REV Program and the benefits a user receives by becoming a partner with Cincom here.

Interested? Join other entrepreneurs and get started in this very popular program today! Click here to start your partnership.

An Upgrade to the Lego Blocks of Application Development

Arden Thomas, the Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager, started the Hidden Gems screencast series to share shortcuts, tips and techniques that might make it easier for others to use or jumpstart their Cincom Smalltalk usage. In these screencasts, Arden shares how he uses various components of Cincom Smalltalk, as well as features that he uses for his own productivity that he considers “hidden gems.”

In an earlier screencast, Arden introduced the “DomainMaster”—the Lego blocks of application development. DomainMaster is a framework that makes your application a ValueModel and takes application reuse to a new level. DomainMaster gives you the power of “one”―one domain, one focus and one very reusable application. This is accomplished by following some simple framework guidelines that make frequent, typical patterns easy and simple, allowing you to assemble more complex applications from standardized pieces, just like Legos.

  • Check out the introduction by Arden here.

NEW Hidden Gems: DomainMaster Upgrade

In this new Hidden Gems screencast, we talk about adding a capability to DomainMaster for more flexibility.  We discuss an interesting philosophical point that is very relatable to Smalltalk and how it applies to this upgrade.

We will also do a quick review of DomainMaster and then show the upgrade with a working example.

Watch this new Hidden gems screencast below or click here.

NEW BONUS Hidden Gems: Application Window Opening

In this bonus screencast, we show a useful technique of how to open your application window in a specific place and with a specific size. It demonstrates doing this with “helper” methods in the DomainMaster framework and can be used in your framework or independently just as easily.

Watch this bonus Hidden gems screencast below or click here.

Frequently Asked Questions about MacOS and Cincom VisualWorks

Does Cincom VisualWorks run on MacOS Catalina?

  • Cincom VisualWorks 9.0 and newer will run on MacOS Catalina (10.15.x).
  • Prior versions of VisualWorks will not work due to changes that Apple made in MacOS.

Is there a 64-bit version for MacOS?

  • Recent versions for MacOS are 64-bit installations.

I ran into a problem when trying to install VisualWorks on MacOS.

  • Please see the installation pictorial here for visuals of installation issues and the solutions.

If you have more questions, feedback, or if you would like to discuss the product, please contact the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com

For other frequently asked questions, visit our FAQs section where we answer “How do I…?” and other questions here.

Where Do I Go for Cincom Smalltalk Resources?

Whether you are new to Cincom Smalltalk, a seasoned Smalltalker or a customer or partner, this section will be a handy guide to the popular resources we currently have available on our website:

Have You Engaged with Us on Social Media?

In this month’s Digest, we’ve shared many links that are available for customers, partners and users to find information and resources on our website.  Have you engaged with us on social media? Join our growing, active community at one of the following social sites:

  • Cincom Smalltalk Twitter – Here’s a chance to like, retweet or give comment in our Twittersphere. On Twitter, we share a variety of information including user stories, product information, updates, product tutorials, programs and links to the Hidden and Quantitative Gems screencasts. Along with our main Twitter account, there are also several Cincom Smalltalk team members who are active on Twitter, contributing and engaging with customers, partners, users and curious onlookers.
  • Cincom Smalltalk Facebook – If Facebook is more your speed, we post user stories, product information and updates, and a wide variety of videos, including customer, partner and user program highlights, product tutorials and Hidden and Quantitative Gems screencasts.
  • Cincom Smalltalk YouTube – If you are looking for a more visual experience, YouTube is the place to browse hundreds of Cincom Smalltalk videos, organized into nearly 30 unique playlists that help you find the topic you are looking