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Discussion 3 - Dasha Kishinevskaya
The feature that I have used virtually from the first day I started working in Squeak and daily since then is the System Browser. It can be opened from the World Menu (to open the menu simply left-click anywhere in the World) by selecting open...->browser(b).
- In detail, describe a feature of Squeak that you have found particularly useful. What is the feature? Why is it useful? How do you envoke it?
System Browser is useful in just about every step of the coding process. It allows for simple execution of any code within it (select the code you would like to execute, right-click, and select "do it(d)"); it provides centralized viewing area for all the classes created by the user (or imported from the main library or from any uploaded changesets, fileins) divided into categories. The category view (top left pane) can be sorted alphabetically or remains in default mode, sorted according to the category creation date. The latter sorting method is helpful when working on a particular project/deadline and wishing to have it easily accessible. The first sorting method is helpful when looking for a specifically-named category or wanting to see classes with similar category names together. However, regardless of whether you are looking for a particular class or just want to browse the library classes with a vague idea of what you are looking for, the class search feature of the browser is key in your success. It can be invoked by clicking on the square box in the bottom left corner of the category pane and selecting the "find class" option. A prompt will appear asking the user to enter a class name and a listing of classes containing the provided name will pop up. In the case where only one class is found, whose name matches exactly what you provide, the browser will immediately jump to that class without prompting. The same menu invoked by clicking on the square in the left bottom corner of the category pane includes "add item" option. Selecting that option will create a new category with the name provided when prompted.
There are a couple of other views/panes worth mentioning besides the category pane. Adjacent to its right side, you can find a class listing pane which lists all classes within a given category. To the right of that, there is a method category pane and a method listing pane. And of course the larger bottom pane is just a general viewing area.
When a particular class is selected, this general viewing area can be switched between three main modes. In the bottom of the class listing pane (second one from the left of the browser) there are three buttons labeled "instance", "?", and "class" accordingly. Selecting them will change the current view from instance variables/methods to class comments to class variables/methods respectively.
There is a wealth of other features within the browser, description of which can make an already lengthy discussion even longer. Luckily, most of these features can be accessed by simply familiarizing oneself with the available menus, panes, buttons, etc. The time spent on this would be well worth your effort since a combination of the above mentioned features (and then some) has made the browser an immensely helpful and absolutely necessary tool in my development process.
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