Developing under develop

I think that this had happend to a lot of smalltalkers with the time… After a while you just get used to do some tasks that aren’t very intuitive for a newcommer and started to feel “natural”. Yes… the classic user that get used to a system…

And these days I’ve been watching the frustation of someone that is starting the path and trying to help I just realize that I have a lot of tips and tricks that I follow unconcious and decided to make an entry here maybe this help and more people with more expirience would share their tips.

Starting

Before start your coding you have to setup your environment, an one choose is which image? Wich version? I strongly suggest the lastest but maybe you should keep reading before choose.

Why does the title say developing under develop?

Because when I start a new project in pharo I want to use the lastest features, Pharo is getting really cool and has improved a lot and to use all those feautures I need the lastest image.

Other reason is that while you are programming your system you are testing Pharo also and time to time you find some problems and correct them are not so hard, so it pushes you to improve Pharo itself!

So in order to have all the benefits you have to use the lastest image (under develop) and with that you should have concience in the consecuencies and take some considerations.

Mental preparation

Ok you are in a system under developing, IS NOT PERFECT but it is in the path to be one step near to the perfection and to achive that needs your help.  Basically applies to the system the same rule that applies to your development:

  • The system may change: some apis can change and maybe you are an user of that API. This is not bad! Probably it’s a refactor to improve the code, so you get benefit because your code will be more expressive.
  • The system can have bugs! Yes as I said is not perfect and it’s not on purpose.
  • Sometimes the lastest image have problems, yes we would love to be perfect but sometimes there are some nusty side effects and some functionality that stop working, but to find it sometimes you have to release and wait for feedback and you are a great candidate to give that feedback.
  • The debugger does not mean that everything is lost, your first approach sholud NOT be close the debuger and say abandom abandom!
  • Get attach to an image is not a great idea… Your “lastest” image is not there for stay with you for a long time, you have chossen to use under develop image, this means that your image will change (in the happiness path but change anyway) and deliberated decide to attach with an old particular version from a changing image has the worst of two worlds: Now you are not in an stable but you are stuck in a version that nobody is using and by consecuence you don’t have the new fratures/fixes
  • The tests are your friends 🙂 (As usual!)

Tips and tricks!

If you are new at Pharo y strongly recomend to take a look in Mariano Peck‘s blog particullary the post called: Pharo tips and tricks. The shortcuts are really cool and from your previous experience maybe you would say… I can’t do that only with my keyboard… but the true is that probably you can do it! Just take a look in Key mappings

Mitigate the errors

Some tips when you are developing:

  • Use fresh images, if you are in lastest Pharo a week with the same image is really A LOT
  • Allways use a repository to share your code, I strongly recommend smalltalkhub
  • If your project has a complex setup invest some time making a configuration
  • Do not make a lot of actions before commit, small and numerous commit is too much easier than one big commit
  • Reverting the changes is not so easy. There are a lot of effor in this topic and is comming, but is not ready! So, try to keep it simple
  • If you find extrange behavior send email to the user mailing list: pharo-users@lists.pharo.org nobody will judge you for asking!
  • Lenguage barrier is not so hard with a tolerating comunity, Pharo comunity is full of non native-english speaker and is more important to improve Pharo than writing poetry, just ask and try to make that understandable (look… if I’m writing this blog with my horrible english, you shouldn’t care at all)
  • If you can reproduce a problem open an issue in the issue tracker
  • Save your image regulary, if you have worked for a while and you have uncommited changes save your image regulary!
  • Before killing your image because “does not respond” you have the resource to interrupt the process just press alt + ‘.’ or cmd + ‘.’
  • Contribute and give feedback, it’s a way to keep growing

I’m sure we have a lot more, but at least is a beginning!

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