ESUG 2014

September 5, 2014

As you might know, Pharo is one of the programming language we use every day at Ta Mère. Pharo is a dialect of Smalltalk, the famous programming environment that many consider dead. Many new programming languages are actually inspired by Smalltalk. Some says that Ruby is a Smalltalk lying in files. While this is certainly true for its object model, Ruby misses the environment and the dynamic nature of (one of) its grand father.

Smalltalkers around the world usually gather for three big events: ESUG in Europe in August, Smalltalks in Argentina in November and STIC in the US.



This year, the ESUG conference was held in the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. This lab is quite famous for (among others) the Raspberry Pi and the Xen hypervisor.


As usual there were some great talks and tutorials. Here’s a small excerpt of my favorites.

The Glorp hands-on tutorial. Glorp is the de facto ORM for Smalltalk. While powerful, it’s not that easy to get started with it. Niall Ross prepared a session where we could write our first Glorp Descriptor. This was a great starting point.

Getting started with QCMagritte. As I haven’t used Magritte for a while, I did not expect much from this talk. I was proven wrong. What Stefan and Diego have achieved is impressive. QCMagritte can generate a whole web admin for your object model. I often use RailsAdmin these days and it was interesting to see how the gap is getting closer in this front. QCMagritte needs some polishing to match the maturity of RailsAdmin but this is a project I’ll follow from now on.


Clément Bera’s talk about JIT in the VM. I’m usually lost after 5 minutes in all VM related talks but Clément managed to smooth the difficulty curve. Really enjoyable.

And last but not least, Tudor Girba’s talk about Developer Experience. As developer, we take many things for granted and let them the way they are. Tudor showed us how to think a bit more about the tools we use everyday and why we should care more about our development environment. As usual, Tudor’s presentation style was perfect. Tempo, visual aids and music (yes!) all contribute to convey the message. Hopefully for other speakers, this talk was scheduled on the last day ;)

This is just a small overview but you can find all the talks on ESUG 2014 Youtube Playlist

Interesting projects

ESUG is the place to know more about projects developed by the community. Meeting people in real life is always good to spark conversations.

I’ve been introduced to Roassal, a great tool to build interactive visualization. It’s so easy to use that I’ve started to implement a (trivial) wrapper to display OpenStreetMaps tiles into Paro. Alexandre from Object Profile helped me to write it.

Another star of this year is the GT-inspector. It’s the regular Smalltalk inspector on steroids. It makes it so easy to draw custom views for your object that it would be a crime not to use it. If you are used to fiddle with inspectors or even trying to debug with LLDB, you have to try it.

Even Tudor, one of its creator, is amazed when demoing it.

GT Inspector woaw effect!

ESUG was a boost of energy for the year to come. 2015 will be exciting.

All the photos from this post are from the ESUG 2014 album of Adriaan van Os.