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I am satisfied. I’m not done (not by a longshot), but I am satisfied.

In the last couple of (long) days I’ve been able to touch just about all of the tools and while some of them have interesting quirks and foibles, one can get real work done using them. So with many thanks to Liliana Ivan we can stick a fork in the Monticello tools.

The Monticello tools are not based on OmniBrowser so we had to create proxies for big chunks of the Monticello model (read lots of classes) which not only complicated the development process, but also results in more roundtrips between Squeak and GemStone while using the tools. I have not addressed dependency issues either, so there are a handful of update-related problems outstanding. But hey, what’s a couple of bugs amongst friends?

Early tomorrow morning we will begin our trip to ESUG in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland. The good news is that I will be able to sleep on the plane, rather than fix quirks in the tools. The bad news is that I’ll be trying to sleep on a plane.

While we’re in Europe, we’ll release a GLASS alpha to some of the folks at ESUG. They can kick the tires, take the tools for a spin and If they take it slow and stay in the middle of the road, they’ll have a nice experience. However, I understand that there are some curvy roads high in the Swiss Alps, so I’m anticipating that they will find a foible or two that I haven’t seen.

After ESUG, my wife and I will spend a few days in Venice, before heading back to the states. That’s when we anticipate that a few more folks will be given access to the GLASS alpha.

Georg Heeg has annouced the date (June 18th – June 21st) and location (Reno, NV) for Smalltalk Solutions 2008. Mark your calendar and bone up on your poker skills start preparing your papers for submission.

I grew up in Indiana and every summer we’d hook the old camping trailer up to the family station wagon and head out on the road for a couple of weeks. Over the years we fished for Northern Pike in the far north of Ontario, visited cousins in Anaheim and toured the cliff-side homes of the Ancient Pueblo. Most summers we’d stay closer to home camping at places like The Dunes, Indian Lake or Brown County.

One year we traveled east to see the sites. We visited Gettysburg, Jamestown and The Smithsonian. I have vivid memories of the hex signs on the barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Maryland crab cakes, the lush Shenandoah Valley and a dusty, old Civil War museum in Appomattox. When we visited Monticello, I remember learning that in those days, the kitchens were always built separate from the house, because of the danger of fire. I remember thinking that the soup must get cold when they carry it from the kitchen to the dining room.

Colin might claim that he was thinking about another place when he named Monticello and my mom might claim that we visited Mount Vernon not Monticello that summer, but these are my memories, my story and no one can deny the fact that whenever I work on the Monticello tools my mind wanders back to that summer some 40 years ago.

I spent most of the last week getting the Debugger and Inspector into shape. While I’m still not completely happy with the Debugger, it is definitely usable. Every once in a while though, it lets you down.

Yesterday I started to make a pass through the Monticello tools. I’ve been using the Monticello tools full-time for the last week or so, but I need to make sure that the functions I don’t use on a regular basis are ready.

With the way things are progressing, we should have something interesting to show at ESUG.

Man those crab cakes were good!

After getting the OmniBrowser tools running against Gemstone/S last week, I started working on the Debugger and Inspector.

Fortunately, Lukas Renggli had done an OmniBrowser-based Debugger and Inspector and I was able to port it to GemStone/S in relatively short order, leveraging James Foster’s previous work on a Morphic-based debugger. The heavy lifting involved getting the Squeak-side process management under control and generalizing the intervm notification mechanism to use ClientForwarders – taking a page from GemBuilder for Smalltalk.

To top it all off, Liliana Ivan (from FinWorks) has managed to bring the Monticello tools to the point where we can load, save, and view changes!

We are getting danged close.

Now that all of the tools are functional, we’ve only got 80% of the work left. Ha ha!

Seriously, I still have to make an exhaustive pass through the Monticello tools (Liliana has taken a vacation of all things), Inspector and Debugger to flush out any fundamental problems.There are also a handful of annoying update (or lack thereof) problems that have to be ironed out before the tools can be given a wider audience. All in all, we are still on a pace to open things up before ESUG.

Herb Sutter has just published his second article on Effective Concurrency in DDJ entitled “How Much Scalability Do You Have or Need?”. Check it out

If you like your tools medium rare, that is.

Yesterday I declared a cage match with OmniBrowser – I wasn’t leaving until I had a functional set of OmniBrowser tools. I made a sweep through all of the menus and windows reachable from OBSystemBrowser, fixing problems or lopping off features along the way. It took a while, but in the end the OmniBrowser tools are ready for prime time.

Strarting today, I will do all of my development activities for GLASS using the OmniBrowser-based tools.

Next up is to tackle the debugger and inspector. Before we can open up the beta to a wider audience, we need a useable debugger and inspector – I can get by with what we have, but I wouldn’t ask anyone else to try.

Liliana Ivan is continuing to make progress on the Monticello tools, so I am optimistic that we’ll be able to open up the beta to a wider audience before ESUG, which would be nice.

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August 2007
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