Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest: January Edition
The Cincom Smalltalk Digest is a monthly publication where we share news, updates and resources with customers, partners and users. In this month’s newsletter, you will find the following:
CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS
- Saving Millions with a Cincom Smalltalk Upgrade
- Building Success for Businesses by Creating Customer and Partner Stories
BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS
- Engineering Perspective: How Can Smalltalk Embrace Symbolic AI?
- Interested in Trying Out Cincom Smalltalk for Yourself?
- Programming Tips: Ideas for Simplifying Your Code
- Component of the Month: StoreForGlorpReplication
CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS
This section of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest is dedicated to our valued customers and partners.
Saving Millions with a Cincom Smalltalk Upgrade
“By allowing us to keep our current claims application as opposed to purchasing or building a new one ourselves, Cincom saved us at least $10 million.” – Jacques Maltais, Desjardins Director of Development and Implementation for Claims and Enterprises
Desjardins General Insurance Group (DGIG), a user of Smalltalk since 1998, has been in business for over 60 years, serving millions of customers throughout Canada. When their claims application required an upgrade, they contacted Cincom for help.
Combining Desjardins’ knowledge of the claims application with Cincom’s knowledge and expertise, the upgrade team was able to quickly and efficiently get the application running correctly on the new version of Cincom Smalltalk.
With this upgrade, Desjardins:
- Amplified their ROI from the investment in their application suite
- Gained new functionality
- Made the change invisibly to their users
If this story resonates and you are interested in discussing your own upgrades, please contact the Cincom Smalltalk STAR Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com.
Building Success for Businesses by Creating Customer and Partner Stories
We have a diverse group of customers and partners from a variety of industries. Some have been with us for 20, 25 and even 30 years, while others have only recently joined us through our REV Program. “Whether they’ve been using Cincom Smalltalk for days or decades,” says Cincom Smalltalk Program Director, Suzanne Fortman, “our customers and partners have stories about their success.”
It can be difficult to market your product or service. Because businesses spend so much time and money developing their products or services, marketing to prospects is frequently overlooked, underprioritized and poorly budgeted. Business leaders may also be unsure of how to find the best prospects for their offerings or how to communicate with them once they have been identified. Worse, the cost of marketing products and services is frequently more than a company can afford.
Marketing is an essential component of any business’s success, and our team understands the value and significance of creating customer and partner success stories. As a result, the Cincom Smalltalk Partner Promotion program was developed. This assistance is just one of the many advantages of being a Cincom customer or partner.
How It Works
We make this process quick and easy to help give more exposure and brand awareness to our customers and partners without taking up valuable time that could be used elsewhere.
- Complete the Questionnaire
First, we ask the customer or partner to fill out a brief, online questionnaireto discover the “who, what, how, why and when” of their product or service offering.
- Create the Story
After the customer or partner completes the online questionnaire, our team begins writing the new story based on the information provided. We occasionally ask more questions and delve deeper into the product or service to discover the “secret sauce.” This helps develop the story in the most effective manner for the ideal audience of the customer and partner application or service.
- Promote the Story
Once the story is written and approved, we promote the story with:
- A new webpage in the “User Story” section of the Cincom Smalltalk website.
- A PDF version of the story that customers and partners can distribute to their own prospects.
- Promotion on our social media channels, as well as references in videos, blog posts, email campaigns and the monthly Cincom Smalltalk Digestemail newsletter.
If this program interests you and you would like to inquire about a story of your own, please contact the Cincom Smalltalk STAR Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com.
BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS
This section of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest is devoted to new Smalltalkers, freelancers, and seasoned developers, providing informative articles and specific Smalltalk examples for learning new skills or honing existing ones using Cincom Smalltalk.
Engineering Perspective: How Can Smalltalk Embrace Symbolic AI?
Submitted by a Cincom Smalltalk engineer:
Python has become the favorite tool these days for AI researchers because of its fundamental support for scientific programming and its ability to exploit multiple GPUs for mathematical calculations. It’s really good at the “gritty stuff,” in particular, training deep neural networks on massive data sets. That said, to a Smalltalker like me, the Python language is a bit clunky, and it’s not what comes to mind when thinking about traditional AI, which is now referred to as Symbolic AI. Whatever happened to that kind of AI anyway?
In the 1970s, Marvin Minsky (one of AI’s founders) was a kingmaker of AI researchers. Then came the 80s along with Prolog and other expert systems packages. This was soon followed by a resurgence of neural networks (having faded during the 70s) thanks to back propagation, which allowed multi-layer networks and new solutions to previously vexing problems. Against these new approaches, traditional AI lost traction through the 90s; a trend that continues to this day. Now we have Machine Learning, with Deep CNNs (convolutional neural network) and Reinforcement Learning dominating the news and conquering all sorts of technical problems from genetic research and self-driving cars to mastering Go. And, most researchers are using what’s available: Python. So how far will this new AI get?
Perhaps if Symbolic AI is “top down,” neural networks are “bottom up.” There is an active debate about their limitations. An article by Ben Dickson https://bdtechtalks.com/2020/03/04/gary-marcus-hybrid-ai describes the debate, and he points to Gary Marcus’ article https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.06177v3 that insists Symbolic AI needs to make a comeback. His ideas convinced me. Minsky rides again! The point of all this is that Smalltalk can take us there. Sure, Python is good at working with the raw grit of arrayed number processing, but Smalltalk has the elegance, grace and power that can embrace Symbolic AI. I can hear it now, “a Smalltalk AI stack!”
And that leads us back from this vision thing down to the practical. SmalltyPy is a means to exploit what Python is good at, in service to what we can do with Smalltalk including elegant symbolic AI! Okay, we still need to prove that part, but read Marcus’ article for perspective. And, SmalltyPy covers more than “just AI.” After all, there are plenty of other things that Python is being used for; all of which can be exploited from Cincom Smalltalk using SmalltyPy.
Continue reading this post and learn how to get the code here: https://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/main/2022/01/engineering-perspective-how-can-smalltalk-embrace-symbolic-ai/.
Interested in Trying Out Cincom Smalltalk for Yourself?
The REV 9.1 Program is available for purchase on our website and gives developers the opportunity to invest in their futures with:
- A preview of the customer experience with Cincom
- A one-year, $1,000 non-renewable license
- Full support for one year
- Success stories
- Academic information
- Video archives
- … and much more!
NOTE: Although the program is geared off of the Cincom Smalltalk 9.1 major release, new REV Program customers will receive the new 9.1.1 release.
Programming Tips: Ideas for Simplifying Your Code
In last month’s Cincom Smalltalk Digest newsletter, we highlighted the Top Hidden Gems Screencasts of 2021. The Hidden Gems screencast is a series of live coding examples that share valuable insight into the product and inform you about things you may not know about.
One recent screencast discusses programming tips and ideas for making your code easier to understand. Some of the concepts may seem obvious, similar to a doctor telling you to “eat healthy and exercise.” However, the outcomes can be profoundly positive, so it may be a reminder to use them, or, ideally, we will provide you with some new techniques. Watch these quick tips below or click here.
- This video is part of the Techniques Series that shows various techniques for accomplishing or solving different tasks using Cincom Smalltalk.
- To view the entire collection of Hidden Gem screencasts, check out our video library here.
- If you have questions, comments or ideas for other Smalltalk examples or suggestions for future Hidden Gems, please send an email to the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com.
Component of the Month: StoreForGlorpReplication
Last month we highlighted the SearchLight tool. SearchLight adds additional search-field capabilities in Cincom Smalltalk applications. You can learn more about SearchLight in this Hidden Gems screencast here.
This month we are featuring StoreForGlorpReplication. This component allows replication of bundles and packages between Store databases. If you would like more information on the Store Repository, click here.
Cincom makes the Open Repository (OR) available to all users of Cincom Smalltalk. The OR is a public Store Repository with a guest login that lets anyone read it and load goodies from it. Users with goodies they wish to share (or group projects they wish to work on with others in the community) can request write access. The repository already contains hundreds of utilities implemented in thousands of bundles and packages.
What is Store?
Store is an integrated source code management and version control system for team development in Cincom VisualWorks. Store can use a variety of popular, commercially available database systems (e.g., Oracle, SQLServer, PostgreSQL, SQLite3 and DB2). The public repository uses a PostgreSQL database.
To access it from VisualWorks, you will need to load the StoreForPostgreSQL parcel, which is shipped with the standard distribution. This parcel can be found in the Popular category in the Parcel Manager (and also in the Version Control category). It is located in the /database subdirectory of the standard VisualWorks distribution.
- To learn more about other Contributed Components, click 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 through the Contributed Application Form here.
- To help developers find, understand, appreciate and utilize your contributed work, please use the guidelines for the final documentation of your contributed work here.