Magic (was Re: [squeak-dev] Re: Menu Registries)

Bert Freudenberg bert at
Wed Apr 28 16:46:06 UTC 2010

Folks, *please* change the subject according to the discussion topic. Srsly.

On 28.04.2010, at 17:57, Andreas Raab wrote:
> On 4/28/2010 8:47 AM, Brent Pinkney wrote:
>> Hi all,+
>> Could those in the know comment on how this<...>  proposal is (or is not) consistent with the fundamental Smalltalk principles
>> that:
>> 1. "an object is send a message and responds with an object"
> It is perfectly consistent with it.
>> 2. there is no other "magic" in the system.
> Did you make that up? A wise man once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I don't recall this ever being mentioned as a "fundamental principle" of Smalltalk.
>> Are we proposing a break fromv this ? If so, IMO we need to really get it right before we commit.
> Nobody is proposing to break with the first. I don't know what constitutes "magic" to answer the second but I'll point out that reflection has generally been accepted as a tool in the Smalltalk community although it could be considered magic.
> Cheers,
>  - Andreas

IMHO there is a tendency even in the Smalltalk community towards working more with code, less with objects. What method properties do could as well be represented differently, and edited with some other UI than text. But we still do not have an accepted way to share objects, so we tend to put everything into code. 

In a way, method properties are a reification of comments, meant to be utilized by the system. It allows the system to know more about this piece of code than "this is a sequence of message sends". This meta information could as well be represented elsewhere, but putting it in as text along with the code lets us re-use the interface (text editing).

- Bert -

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