||[Sep. 21st, 2007|08:42 am]
I've been learning more Etoys lately and it's extremely cool. I didn't understand it at all the first few times I played with it but now I can teach it to somebody else in an hour. The demos involve a lot of smiling and laughing :-)
The downside is that I don't know a good way to "get" it all by yourself. There really needs to be a cool demo and ideally someone you can play along with to get started. This would seem to limit how well it can spread, but on the upside it means I can travel around the world giving cool and surprising demos to people. :-)
I've started digging a little bit into the implementation. I hate to say it but even after quite some exposure I still find Smalltalk/Squeak/Morphic code by far the hardest to understand. As a Lisp/Erlang/C/etc programmer I expect to be able to print out the listing for some major concept (viewer, player, etc), read it form start to finish, and basically understand it. But Squeak code is a complex graph (twisty maze). My friend Juho rightly pointed out over beer that since I know basically how I want the program linearised (depth-first into subroutines) I should probably stop whining and write a custom Smalltalk browser. I wonder if this has been done, or if a little more mastery of the cross-reference features will make the idea seem silly. We'll see.
We're recruiting an Etoys programming and design team here in Kathmandu to write Squeak-based educational software. Should be fun :-)