[squeak-dev] Re: A little 4.1 press coverage

Ian Trudel ian.trudel at gmail.com
Wed Apr 28 22:05:05 UTC 2010

>> That caught my eye. How do people actually develop with "one-click
>> images"? I mean, I came up with that concept in the first place, but it was
>> meant for deploying applications, not for development. You can't even save
>> the image under a different name. So while I see the appeal to people giving
>> it a casual look, do you really think that should be the default download?
>> - Bert -

Bert, saving an image under a different name in the installed
directory will result into opening a dialog box to select an image.
There is something to be clear about the whole thing, having to
download a VM, an image and source files separately is newcomers

Imagine a newcomer saying to himself...

	“Squeak, right... funny name... download page... (click)”
	“What do I download again? So much text on this page...”
	“Right, never mind that, I'll take the exe file!”
	“Gee, there's no exe file! Win32, right, I'll take that. (click)”
	“What do you mean no source file? (download source file or giving up)”
	“What do you mean no image file? (download source file or giving up)”

Early in my career I was working on eCommerce technologies. There were
pretty much nothing alike during these days. Few years later, in 1999,
Amazon came up with the 1-Click concept. This was brilliant! It
reduced many hurdles people could have to buy products. It went even
further because some people are bit compulsive when they buy and if
it's easy, they buy it.

Squeak is a product but it just happen to be free-of-charge. Having
multiple downloads to get Squeak running and going is a major hurdle
for newcomers. It will make the curious go away. Curiosity is often
not strong enough to be persistent and go through the hurdles. Then it
turns in a no sale.

It may not be the most practical approach but it's a hell of a good
thing to get newcomers.

> The great thing about the one-click image is that it's such a powerful way
> to get people hooked. If you've got, say, a Mandelbrot generator that you
> want to show to people, it's great to be able to drop it into a one-click
> image, put it and an appealing image on your blog and say to the world "just
> download it and run it, it works identically on Windows, OS X and Linux, oh
> and if you want to understand how it works, the source code's included, oh
> and it's got a powerful development environment in there as well". People
> can then get a taste for the Squeak environment and perhaps explore the
> development tools without even caring that there's an "image" there. Once
> you've captured their interest and they start thinking about using Squeak
> themselves, they'll be more willing to put in that little bit of effort to
> understand what images and sources and changes and FFI and DLLs and VMs and
> changesets and mczs and packages all mean.
> I wouldn't make a one-click image the default download that you're pointed
> to on squeak.org, but you question did make me think; perhaps there should
> be a "Taste of Squeak" one-click image based on the 4.1 release, with a few
> of the more appealing packages pre-installed - a combination of 4.1's
> un-threatening UI and in-image help, with some of Edgar's FunSqueak ideas
> could be really attractive.

I like the idea. We need to make sure there is no hurdles to use
appealing applications within Squeak; if packages don't cut it off at
the moment, we could include few interesting apps (without bloating
the image too much :P).

However, it's important to put some thoughts in it. What would be the
benefits from including a Mandelbrot generator? People will look at it
for 5 minutes then what? It sounds directly out of some 90s demos.
It's underwhelming and trivial even by 90s standard.

One may argue the benefit from having a Mandelbrot generator is that
people can then look into the code. They may or may not. Your guess is
as good as mine. Or, for example, we could instead include some games
(SameGame, Tetris, etc) along with the famous Laser Game tutorial (at
least a link but preferably in HelpSystem).

	“Play games, make games!”

2010/4/28 Michael Davies <mykdavies+squeak at gmail.com>:

>> > If you want to promote the use of Squeak, you need to find people with a
>> > Squeak-shaped hole in their lives, help them recognise that the hole
>> > exists,
>> > convince them that Squeak can fill the hole, and make filling that hole
>> > as
>> > enjoyable as possible [note to self, never use this uncomfortable
>> > metaphor
>> > again].
>> Are you a golfer? :)
> No, golf was not what was disturbing me...

All right. I believe I understand what you initially meant. However,
educating people in what their “real” needs are is costly, lengthy and
difficult. We may not even be the ones who benefit from this
education. People may end-up using something else.

I remember reading about this in the book “The Knack : How
Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up” (I wrote
a bit about it on my blog [1]) written by Norm Brodsky. Brodsky wrote
that he'd much rather do business where there is a lot of competition
because it costs too much to educate customers. My experience in my
area of expertise correlates with his commentary.

[1] http://mecenia.blogspot.com/2010/04/statement-analysis-on-books.html

>> How about we have a great programming environment? It's called Squeak.
>> Clear and simple. Squeak has its own features. Can't we show them off
>> (screenshots, videos, etc)? Perhaps I don't understand anything you're
>> writing. :)
> No, that's where we're totally in agreement. If people are happy to produce
> videos etc, go for it.

Great. What would you show in a video? Perhaps, if we share our ideas,
it might be easy enough that one of us (or someone else) will just do
it. It's much easier when there is some kind of plan. :)

As a side note, I made such a plan before taking screenshots shown in
my article “The History of Squeak in Pictures”. I have determined in
advance what I wanted to show and what should be present that were
pertinent to my goal (convince graphic designers that we need their

>  [snip, then "Developers"]
>> I think it's a good target audience. What kind of efforts have been
>> deployed to reach them on the sites you have mentioned?
> Whenever I post an article on news.squeak.org, I write it thinking of that
> wider audience. I include images to help people engage with what's being
> discussed and the most useful links I can find. If I think it will be of
> particular interest, I post it to a few of the sites I mentioned. If I see a
> discussion in one of my RSS feeds that touches on Smalltalk or Squeak, I see
> if I can contribute to that discussion by adding information and correcting
> misunderstandings. I recognise a few other names of contributors on some of
> these sites also making similar efforts, so there's a few of us out there
> already doing this, but the more of us who do that, the clearer the
> understanding of Squeak will be.

Once again, the articles you post on news.squeak.org are really good.
I have noticed that you have spruced the original announcement for the
4.1 release and even included a partial screenshot. I like it better
(than the original one). :)

Still – sometimes doing a fine work is not enough. This website is
mostly attractive to people already interested in Squeak. It is also
equivalent to a blog. As I wrote, blogs have important shortcomings.

For example, I have been writing in-depth articles on my blog for some
2 years (62 articles). Some of my articles are very popular
(especially those related to RPG Maker) but I get very few comments
(and pretty much from the same person under different names). I do see
many other great blogs and they don't get any more active readership
than I do. Me, personally, I have chosen to NOT be aggressive or even
straightforward in promoting my blog. I however think our community
should be a bit more straightforward and try to reach others (since
they may not be coming on their own).

>> Blogging about Squeak is a good idea but it may have its shortcomings.
>> For example, Squeak related blogs are unlikely to attract newcomers.
>> Anyway, I wrote a bit about Squeak on my blog and I certainly did my
>> part in that respect. Others reading this should consider writing
>> about Squeak on their blog as well; this is a form of contribution!
> Absolutely, I noticed your posts, and look forward to seeing more of them!

I believe there will be more. I am trying to increase my contributions
and Squeak-awareness. :)

> Cheers, Michael

Best regards,

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