Progress on the 2008 Squeak Tutorial

Posted by steve | Smalltalk | Thursday 13 November 2008 4:32 pm

In the Summer of 2007 I wrote an extensive Squeak tutorial and posted it as a web site. It’s been well received. I still get weekly e-mail messages from students learning how to program in Squeak using the tutorial.

This year I began a rewrite of the tutorial. This time it will be available in book form. I’m also changing a lot of the content to reflect two significant user groups.

I’ve gotten letters from students who had no previous experience programming in Squeak. And they sometimes made the simplest of mistakes. When the tutorial was written this was not my intended audience.  I was shooting for an audience that already had experience programming in Squeak but wanted a deeper and more complete example to follow.  I wasn’t anticipating the tutorial being used by students new to coding in Squeak.

The second fundamental change has to do with a better marketing message about Squeak.  I wrote the tutorial using the base Squeak image as available from www.squeak.org. This approach was, I felt, the most reliable since it would always be available from the main Squeak web site. I knew that beginning with the base Squeak would not be the environment used by the more experienced Squeak developer. You can see the built-in conflict here. It’s also true that the base Squeak image doesn’t look as appealing to developers coming from other development environments. So with this rewrite I begin the tutorial using the DevImage instead. That image has many useful tools and features built-in and is highly regarded by the Squeak community.

I began the rewrite early into this year but there have been numerous setbacks, including serious health problems and a lot of “distractions” both good and bad at work. I have finally begun again to write the book.  And I’m making progress.  I wanted to take a moment here and share a little bit about the tools I’m using to do this.  The goal is to create a great PDF file which can then be used for self-publishing at places like LuLu.

Here’s the primary writing tool I am using. It’s called Scrivener and can be found at Literature and Latte. Here’s a screenshot of my work in progress.

The cool thing about Scrivener is it’s so easy to organize my ideas.  It also has the ability to export directly to LaTex format.  That’s awesome.  Once I create the LaTex output file I process it with TeXShop. Here’s a screenshot of that tool being used.

All of this creates a standard PDF file.  Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of one of the chapters.

So I’m having fun working on my tutorial again.  Finding time to do this is often difficult, but I’m making progress.

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RSS Feeds fixed

Posted by steve | Blogging | Thursday 13 November 2008 9:45 am

I think I have the RSS feeds issue resolved with the Blog.  Just a dumb configuration error on my part.  I forgot to turn it on.

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