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Cincom Smalltalk Digest: September Edition

Posted on in Categories Smalltalk

Smalltalk Digest

The Cincom Smalltalk Digest is a monthly publication that provides news, updates and resources for our customers, partners and users.

The following are included in this month’s newsletter:


  • How Customers and Partners Use SupportWeb to Increase Productivity
  • What Is a Resolution, and Why Does It Matter to You?


  • The Golden Anniversary of Smalltalk
  • Cincom Smalltalk Helps Start-up Deliver Web Application for Event Management
  • A Quick Way to Learn Object-Oriented Programming in Smalltalk
  • Be the Master of Your Visual Domain by Customizing the Presentation of Your Data
  • Component of the Month: NumericCollections


This section of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest is dedicated to our loyal customers and partners.

How Customers and Partners Use SupportWeb to Increase Productivity

This month, we want to remind our customers and partners about their ability to use the Cincom SupportWeb®.

Here are some ways customers and partners use this valuable tool to be more productive:

  • Easily check the status of cases – Customers and partners can quickly see their open and closed cases, as well as solutions that may already be available to them.
  • Create a test case – Allows Cincom Support to better understand a customer or partner’s problem by assisting Support in re-creating the problem in our own environment. These test cases also aid in properly defining the problem, allowing Support to determine if they are on the same page regarding the issue a customer or partner is experiencing. Test cases also allow Cincom Support to test the customer or partner issue when future releases are released to ensure that everything is still working properly.
  • Information at your fingertips – Customers and partners will be able to request a monthly technical status report from the main page. Customers and partners can also view special announcements about new services or offerings made available through Cincom Support.

You can reach the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at if you have any further questions.

What Is a Resolution, and Why Does It Matter to You?

Welcome to the Cincom Smalltalk Support coaching clinic.  For a quick review of previous sessions:

  1. Self-study with the Release Notes
    One way to receive coaching on how to move forward from an old release to the latest Cincom Smalltalk release is to do a little bit of self-study with the release notes. The release notes contain new feature descriptions and changes, and the bug fix files list the ARs addressed. A little reading can go a long way toward a smoother, less-frustrating upgrade. 
  2. Upgrading Cincom Smalltalk
    How do you determine when you should upgrade your application? We feel that there is some planning you should think about and even document before taking the step to move your application forward. To avoid unnecessary frustration, do your homework before you begin. Become one with your Smalltalk application. The upgrade itself will go smoothly, but if you would like Cincom to help in the upgrade process, look into our Cincom Smalltalk Consulting and Services option.  
Coaching Session Three: Resolutions

Technical problems come in all forms.  Some are easily re-created in any environment, some are not reproducible outside the production environment and others only occur with a certain operating system or a specific version of other third-party software.  The more information you provide to Cincom Smalltalk Support the higher the chances of finding a solution. Support’s primary job is to give you a technical solution that results in the application functioning within the boundaries of Cincom® ObjectStudio® or  Cincom® VisualWorks®.

Once the solution is found, the Technical Support Engineer creates a “resolution.”  A resolution is a technical solution designed to handle a single, specific problem.  Resolutions are considered temporary solutions until the product addresses it in a future release.  Many resolutions list no prerequisite resolutions because of the nature of the problem being addressed.  We provide support for resolutions that are made available to our customers.   However, resolutions are to be evaluated by you, our customer or partner, just as if your staff had created them and wanted to apply them to the production environment.  We recommend only applying those resolutions that actually solve a problem that you are experiencing.  It will underscore the need to make it part of your production efforts.  Otherwise, unnecessary resolutions may cause regressions.  An example of this is a resolution that is only needed for a Mac environment causing regression in a Windows environment.

All resolutions are submitted for consideration for inclusion into an upcoming release.  Some resolutions are included and others are not because the problem is architecturally solved a different way.  Other resolutions are too specific to a rare situation and much more time is needed to understand how the product should be adjusted.  Yes, there are even resolutions that are unique to a specific application design pattern of a customer and will not be included in a future release.

Want an easy way to learn about available resolutions?  Here are two ways:

  1. Our monthly Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions newsletter is exclusive to current Cincom Smalltalk customers and partners.  The email communication lists the latest resolutions available for the most recent Cincom Smalltalk versions, which are currently Cincom ObjectStudio 9.2 and Cincom VisualWorks 9.2.  To be included on this mailing list, visit:
  2. A second way to list available resolutions is to visit the Resolutions Portal at our website:

Remember, a resolution is a technical solution designed to handle a single, specific problem with no implied relationship to other resolutions unless otherwise specifically stated. 

If you have further questions, contact us via:

You can reach the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at if you need anything else.


This section of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest is dedicated to new Smalltalkers, freelancers and experienced developers, with informative articles and specific Smalltalk examples for learning new skills or honing existing ones using Cincom Smalltalk.

The Golden Anniversary of Smalltalk

Smalltalk existed prior to Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, Python, Java and Objective-C and would eventually revolutionize personal computing, graphical user interfaces and programming languages. Created 50 years ago this month at Xerox PARC in Alan Kay’s Learning Research Group, it began as a way to help children learn using computers.

On September 1, the Computer History Museum celebrated Smalltalk’s 50th anniversary with Smalltalk pioneers and 2022 CHM Fellows Adele Goldberg and Daniel Ingalls. Goldberg and Ingalls explored Smalltalk’s original mission in education, as well as its influence on the world of object-oriented programming languages, development environments and software engineering methodologies, in an interactive discussion moderated by John Markoff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter. Smalltalk creator, Alan Kay, also recorded remarks for this historic occasion.

Although our beloved object-oriented programming language has been around since before 1970, it wasn’t until 1997 that Cincom acquired full ownership of ObjectStudio. Two years later in 1999, VisualWorks was sold to Cincom. The acquisition of the Smalltalk products paved the way for Cincom Smalltalk as it is today.

You can read more about the early years of Smalltalk, the dramatic origin of ObjectStudio, the history of Smalltalk coming to Cincom and more, here:

Suzanne Fortman, the Cincom Smalltalk Program Director, Support and Engineering Manager, shared some thoughts about the 20th Anniversary of Cincom Smalltalk and talked about the day when Cincom Founder and CEO, Tom Nies, added Smalltalk to the “table” with the other successful products at Cincom.

Cincom Smalltalk Helps Start-up Deliver Web Application for Event Management

Dirk Newbold is a mechanical engineer who also designs and develops non-commercial projects for collaborative web start-ups. Not long ago, he realized that it had been 20 years since he’d been in contact with many of his university peers. However, since his New Year’s resolution that year had been to delete all of his social media accounts, he had no way to contact them. What to do?

Dirk decided to create a quick reunion site. He says,

“I started using Cincom VisualWorks as a complete novice, but found the environment so easy to navigate that I’d been using it exclusively as both an entrepreneur and a hobbyist. For the reunion site, I’d originally planned on just a simple display of the event and relevant information in read-only format. But as Cincom VisualWorks prototyping is so fast, I decided to add a page where users could trade comments.”

The package just grew from there. 

Dirk’s RSVP is a standalone Cincom VisualWorks package that delivers a bespoke web application for the management of exclusive events with a dedicated domain.

A Quick Way to Learn Object-Oriented Programming in Smalltalk

We recently created a quick start guide to learn object-oriented programming in Smalltalk. This guide gives prospective programmers what they need to know to get up and running, create and talk to objects and even build a fun interactive graphic game using the magic of Smalltalk!

Below are links to videos that will give users most of what they need to get their Smalltalk programming journeys started quickly:

Click on the links above and try it out for yourself, or pass along the information and the link to your colleagues who are looking for a new programming language to add to their developer toolbox.

Be the Master of Your Visual Domain by Customizing the Presentation of Your Data

Arden Thomas, the Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager, began the Hidden Gems screencast series to showcase shortcuts, tips and techniques that may make it easier for others to use or kickstart their use of Cincom Smalltalk. Arden shares how he utilizes multiple Cincom Smalltalk components, as well as features he uses for his own productivity that he considers “hidden gems” in these screencasts.

MVC, short for Model, View and Controller, is a framework for building interfaces and interactive interfaces. MVC was created by Trygve Reenskaug in the late 1970s as a visiting scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) working on Smalltalk-79. He was looking for a pattern that could be used to structure any program in which users interact with a large, complex data set.

The Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) is a database maintained by the Research division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that contains over 816,000 economic time series from various sources.

In this month’s new Hidden Gems screencast, MVC, FRED, and the Economy, we will show you how to parse data from FRED, build a series, present it in a chart and build some new visuals to improve the presentation.

This latest Hidden Gems screencast is part of the Techniques Series that shows various techniques of how to accomplish or solve different tasks from automating image build to creating a custom parser. 

Component of the Month: NumericCollections

This month we are highlighting NumericCollections. NumericCollections adds the four basic numeric methods (+, -, *, /) to collections as well as some other methods that come as a natural follow-on.

NumericCollections can be found in our Store Repository Public Index. This page provides an index of “interesting” packages/bundles in the Cincom Public Store Repository.