Smalltalk Digest: December Edition
Welcome to the December 2020 “Year in Review” edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest. Before we get started, we have some breaking news.
Cincom® ObjectStudio® 9.0.1 and Cincom® VisualWorks® 9.0.1 Are Here!
One of the biggest announcements of 2020 came in May when we officially announced Cincom Smalltalk Version 9.0. The first thing to note with our version 9.0 release for Cincom ObjectStudio 9.0 and Cincom VisualWorks 9.0 is that it is an evolutionary release and is not disruptive, as a major number increment might suggest. Version 9.0 begins our path to move the products closer together, with the goal of a future single product and the intent to offer the best of both for our customers. This would allow, for example, VisualWorks users to use the native Windows widgets and the modeling and mapping tools of ObjectStudio, and would give ObjectStudio users the potential to move applications cross-platform. Version 9.0 continues to improve and enhance infrastructure to allow continued future improvements while keeping API capability.
NOTE: Starting with release 9.0, ObjectStudio and VisualWorks now share a release number. Since both products share a foundation of work, this makes it easier for customers or partners and Cincom to discuss, compare and track.
On Cyber Monday, we released the current version of Cincom Smalltalk to our customers and partners. This version includes the releases of Cincom ObjectStudio 9.0.1 and Cincom VisualWorks 9.0.1.
Where Can I Get This Release?
As a valued Cincom Smalltalk customer or partner, we’re pleased to offer you this opportunity to request the latest release of Cincom Smalltalk through our Customer Product Request Form here.
NOTE: Should you have any questions or problems accessing the request form above, please contact your Sales Account Manager or Cincom Smalltalk Support.
To learn more about these new releases, please see the product release notes. The release notes contain new-feature descriptions and descriptions of the ARs and support resolutions that were addressed.
If we can assist you in any way, please contact the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team here.
A New Way to Contribute to Cincom Smalltalk
Developers often create some great tools, enhancements, frameworks, examples and applications, and they like to share them, get recognition for them or receive suggestions for improvement. The Cincom Smalltalk Product Team is enhancing the section of our website that highlights these contributed items from customers, partners and users. Not only will this revamped area give more detail for each item, it will also be a better-organized and comprehensive home for the list of contributed items available. With more detail and better organization, these items will be more searchable and easier to find so that other developers can use them. Additionally, our team will be able to promote these contributed items and share the value of Smalltalk throughout our website, on social media, in the Cincom Smalltalk Digest and in other communications.
There are several places contributed work can be found:
To help developers find, understand, appreciate and utilize your contributed work, please use the guidelines for the final documentation of your contributed work here.
If you have created something you think would be of value and interest to other Smalltalk developers or could help attract new users to Smalltalk, please apply with the new Contributed Application Form here.
Hindsight Is 2020: a Look Back at What We Communicated in an Unprecedented Year
Remember when 2020 started? It was the beginning of a new decade, and everyone was excited to see what the year had in store. In late February, Tom Nies, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cincom Systems, Inc., showing care and concern for his Cincom family, began issuing various guidelines for those who might be traveling on behalf of the company. None of us at Cincom (and we’re sure you have a similar story) suspected that by mid-March, many things around the world would be shut down for the remainder of the year.
Life has certainly taken many twists and turns over the last nine months, and it is still difficult to process everything. But, as we’ve communicated in recent Cincom Smalltalk Digest newsletters, it’s not all been negative.
As we look at what we’ve communicated throughout 2020, let’s first look at what we shared with our customers and partners.
Communication with Customers and Partners
Cincom plays a significant leadership role in providing commercial Smalltalk to customers and partners around the world, as well as the Smalltalk community. Because of this, it’s imperative that communication is central in everything we do with our customers and partners. Without consistent communication, those who use Cincom Smalltalk may not know what tools and resources are provided through Cincom.
From upgrading products to the current release of Cincom Smalltalk Version 9.0.1, promoting customer and partner offerings for resale and adding value for their companies, to customer programs and services, tutorials, videos and helpful newsletters, we have all of our resources, programs and product information listed here.
- What Is the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletterand Why Is It a Valuable Tool for Customers? (February)
- How Does Cincom Smalltalk Engage with Customers? (March)
- How Customer Communication Is Cincom’s Priority (April)
- How Have We Made Customer Communication Easier? (May)
- In Our Changing World, Communication Is Key to Our Customers and Partners (August)
- Customers and Partners, Let Your Voices Be Heard (September)
- Communication Is Key for Our Customers and Partners (November)
Product Management Surveys
Customer satisfaction is all about giving our valued customers and partners what they need, when they need it. Aligning our product improvements with our customers’ requirements is essential in helping our customers and partners succeed. To gain this valuable feedback and obtain requirements from our partners and customers, Cincom Smalltalk Product Management periodically conducts mini surveys, simply designed to obtain specific and timely information about a unique feature or features of our product.
- Product Management Mini-Survey: OAuth2 Authorization (March)
- Product Management Mini Survey: Usage and Interest in Git for Source Code Management (May)
The Cincom Smalltalk Partner Promotion Program assists our customers and partners in marketing their applications or services. We make this process simple and easy for our customers and partners by providing a brief, online survey that gathers information about their applications and their usage. We then create a story that can be posted to the Cincom Smalltalk website and our social media sites, which gives them and their applications even more exposure. This adds value by helping to grow their respective brands and increase the usage of their Cincom Smalltalk applications.
- Why Consider the Partner Promotion Program? (January)
- Meeting the Demand for Whisky with Cincom Smalltalk (March)
The Cincom Smalltalk Developer Program creates an environment that allows Cincom Smalltalk customers and partners to participate in the ongoing development of the Cincom Smalltalk system. For Cincom, this allows us to get immediate feedback from power users of Cincom Smalltalk before we release new features and platforms. This valuable feedback helps our team move the products forward, make the best decisions for enhancements and also seek to make our products the best they can be for our users.
Cincom Smalltalk customers and partners experience productivity and simplicity when developing with our products. It’s one of the many reasons our customers and partners are so successful. We encourage our valued customers and partners to let our experienced Services team help increase their profitability and success, adding more value to their business. We often promote Product Upgrades, Mentoring, Troubleshooting, Performance Enhancements, Migrations and Proofs of Concepts in which our team can assist.
- Working from Home? Have You Checked Out the Cincom Discovery Zone? (March)
- Looking for Hidden Value in Your Business? (April)
- Practical Ideas for Spending “Use It or Lose It” Budget in 2020 (November)
Communication with Prospects and Users
The Personal Use License
The Personal Use License is ideal for developers who are looking to sharpen their skills by adding new tools to their “developer toolbox.” With Cincom being a leading provider of commercial Smalltalk, the PUL also presents an opportunity for existing Smalltalkers to build their businesses and partner with a global commercial company. Regardless of the reason, the PUL allows the freedom for users to evaluate our products before realizing that Cincom Smalltalk is the right fit for their business or project needs.
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.
The REV Program
The PUL program has been very successful over the years. During that time, we’ve often been asked for an option between the PUL and full product licensing. Tom Nies, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cincom Systems, Inc., challenged the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team to come up with an offering that would answer this request, and our team delivered the REV Program.
The REV program is a bridge between the free evaluation of the PUL and full licensing. It allows for easy entry into the Cincom platform, providing both the full product (the current release of Cincom Smalltalk Version 9.0.1) and full support for a 1-year/12-month time period. REV Program participants also have access to Cincom marketing and branding through the Cincom Smalltalk Partner Promotion Program that can help with the kickoff of the application or business.
We’ve seen many REV members successfully move from the REV Program to full licensing even before their 12-month cycle is complete. Listen as Suzanne discusses the REV Program and the benefits a user receives by becoming a partner with Cincom here.
UPDATE: We launched the REV Program with introductory pricing of $500, and it exceeded our expectations! Now the program is at the regular, full price of $1,000. Exclusively for Digest readers, we are offering a 25% discount off the full price of the REV Program. It’s our way to give back during this unique holiday season. Want this deal? Email the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team to get your holiday coupon worth $250.
In addition to the above stories, we also released detailed, technical articles throughout the year to help customers, partners and users be more productive in using Cincom Smalltalk.
- How Can You Use the Cincom VisualWorks EXDIs from Cincom ObjectStudio? (January)
- How to Use SQL Server Temporary Tables with Cincom ObjectStudio ODBC Wrapper (March)
- How to Handle Date, Time and Timestamp Data Types with SQLite in Cincom VisualWorks (April)
- Frequently Asked Questions about MacOS and Cincom VisualWorks (May)
- Cincom VisualWorks for MacOS Catalina 10.15.5 (June)
- Notes from the Product Manager’s Desk (June)
- Are There Tutorials or Instructions on How to Integrate Cincom VisualWorks with Jenkins? (July)
- Is ARM Displacing X86? Is History Repeating Itself? (November)
Developers are always looking for an edge—something that can help get their applications done faster and more efficiently, which makes performance improvement a hot topic. Pull up any past Digest and you will see that we constantly speak about the benefits of using Cincom Smalltalk. Arden Thomas has established a handy illustration that highlights these benefits. Dubbed the “Pearls of Smalltalk,” Arden highlights important aspects of Cincom Smalltalk that can positively affect performance, like productivity, simplicity and enjoyment.
- How Can Cincom Help Customers and Partners with Productivity? (July)
- Cutting the Complexity: How Cincom Smalltalk Makes Things Easier for Users (August)
- How Does the Simplicity of Smalltalk Help Cincom Smalltalk Users? (August)
Hidden Gems Screencasts
Arden Thomas 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.” You can hear more details directly from Arden in this “Introduction to Hidden Gems.” Additionally, Suzanne Fortman shares her thoughts on the impact of these videos in “What Are the Benefits of Hidden Gems?”
This screencast series is a growing list of valuable nuggets that Arden has compiled over several years. At the time of this writing, the list numbers over 60, with more in the production pipeline for 2021. We’ve recently divided the series into manageable and understandable subcategories to make it easier for you to view. You can check out those subcategories here and individual articles below:
- What Is LargeArray and How Might It Be Useful for Developers? (February)
- Ever Hear of the BucketDictionary? (February)
- Looking for Methods in Your Smalltalk Library to Make Frequent or Difficult Things Easy? (May)
- Tips and Techniques of Using Name Spaces in Cincom Smalltalk (June)
- Practical Pragmas and Productivity (July)
- An Upgrade to the Lego Blocks of Application Development (October)
- A Deep Dive into the Hidden Gems Screencast Series (November)
Quantitative Gems Screencasts
Also this year, Arden began a new series of screencasts that serves as an introduction to Quantitative Analysis (QA)—a technique that uses mathematical and statistical modeling, measurement and research to understand behavior. These instructional videos include guided examples of how to do Quantitative Analysis as well as creating charts and indicators in Cincom Smalltalk and walking users through building algorithms and interactive charts. This series is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to learn how to do technical or Quantitative Analysis on stocks, tweak and explore algorithms, build or experiment with their own charting system or learn a powerful language.
- Using Smalltalk for Quantitative and Technical Analysis (August)
- Performance Pattern of SPY and Its Significance to Market Behavior Leads to New Screencast (October)
- Preparing for the Recovery (November)
We are always happy to promote Smalltalk and other developer-related events around the world. These events help strengthen the Smalltalk community and provide opportunities for Smalltalkers to work together and think of new ideas.
- How Does Cincom Promote Smalltalk Events, Conferences and Meetups for the Smalltalk Community? (February)
However, 2020 changed the landscape of how people can attend events. In April, the UK Smalltalk User Group changed its monthly in-person meeting to an online meeting from home through Zoom. The hidden benefit of this format was that people from all over the world were able to attend this virtual meetup. Over 30 people signed up for this event with many of them attending at least some part of the meeting. Little did we know at the time that this would become the standard for events throughout the remainder of the year.
- See AppeX examples
- How AppeX works in the Cincom Smalltalk IDE
- How to run and debug AppeX with Chrome
- The UK Smalltalk User Group Meeting Is Back! (April)
- A Well-Attended Virtual Smalltalk Event (May)
- AppeX: a Lightweight, Web App Framework (September)
Other News and Promotions
To Understand the Present, You Have to Know the Past
A filmmaking crew is 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 like Diana Merry-Shapiro, a programmer and member of the legendary Learning Research Group (LRG) at Xerox PARC.
In September, we began promoting this film, purely on social media and in the monthly edition of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest. After several conversations with the film crew, the Cincom Smalltalk group sponsored the project at the Credited Producer level, which gives Cincom Smalltalk prominent positioning in the credits of the film. Additionally, as the film crew uncovers archived video clips of Alan Kay and other pioneers of Smalltalk, they will be sharing that media with the Cincom Smalltalk team to use for marketing and promotion.
When we first began promoting the film in September, the crew had reached just a little over half of their goal of $25,000. Once our team became a Credited Producer, we started our social media and web hype train and was able to help the film exceed its kick-starter goal before its deadline. We are very thankful to report that at the close of the kick-start, 180 backers pledged $27,001 to help bring this project to life, because marketing matters!
Other Random Thoughts
Throughout the year, we also posted some additional fun and thought-provoking articles geared toward getting the Smalltalk community engaging with us.