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What's up with Squeak's UI?

So what's up with's squeak's UI? Everything, including stuff in morphic, is totally flat. There's no beveling or anything on buttons, so they're indistingushable from any other morph. Also, why do we edit code in a "System Browser"? Wouldn't it make sense to edit code in something like, say, a "Code Editor Window"? Hmmm... perhaps this would make a good project for a future semester: "Make squeak easier to use". – Bryan


Be sure to specify what you mean by "use". There are all kinds of uses of Squeak:
  1. writing Smalltalk programs
  2. playing with little bits of Smalltalk code
  3. developing presentations, or computer media in general
  4. assembling simulations for students to play in
  5. using simulations that someone has built

The core Squeak developers are focused on the last three goals, and in fact they did hire two-three people last summer to work specifically on smoothing out the interface. There's been little done, however, to make the system easier on new programmers using the system, or for making those 3D widgits a lot of people like.

However, it's worth thinking about what exactly would make for better widgits. For example, Squeak comes with excellent support for hand-drawn morphs. Bevelled plain-gray isn't going to mix well with cartoonish sketches. -Lex Spoon


Consider it from a design standpoint for a sec; we have a soundfilegroup that's a group of (surprise!) sounfiles. We have a code browser which is quite nice at browsing code, but I argue that it's just as "bad" to code in a 'browser' as it is to have a soundfilegroup that's just a group of filenames. Sure, it works, but is it the best design? – Bryan

Consider that you can edit code in most any of Squeak's development windows. With this in mind, what do you call the 5-paned green window? The panes give you exhaustive lists of all the code in the system, so that you can go through the raw hierarchy. That kind of behavior sounds like browsing, so why not call it a browser? -Lex Spoon
Alan Kay addressed this point in one of his Scientific American articles. He points out that much of what we do with computers, including spreadsheets, etc., occurs through browsing behavior. Squeak's pluggable components are designed to make the creation of browsers as easy as possible. Mark Guzdial


I'm working on P1 right now, and I've ran into a major flaw in Squeak's interface (I think). I had a system browser window open that I was modifing my WordMatcher methods. I also had a workspace window open that I was using to test various statements. I made a CharacterSet in the workspace and added four characters to it. Then, I sent the explore message to my CharacterSet instance. The explore window came up, but it was empty and the title bar was positioned above the top of the world window. Now I can't get the dammed thing to go away! It's there every time I load my saved image. How can I get rid of it if I can't get to it's title bar? Help!



Error: this should not happenMichael CaudleError: this should not happen


Okay, I've fixed the problem by collapsing all windows. But I've still ran into this very annoying problem several times already. (by the way, I wonder why my Who's Who link didn't show up on my last post?)


Error: this should not happenMichael CaudleError: this should not happen



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