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Dolphin Smalltalk v. Smalltalk MT

Forum,

We have pretty much settled on Dolphin as the Smalltalk implementation
of choice (the decision finally came down to Dolphin or MT).  But MT
does have a couple of features that are useful and productive, and I
was would like to know if perhaps the functionality already exists in
Dolphin, but maybe not so straightforward.

1. Concerning the embedding of an ActiveX component in a view, MT
offers a simple way to execute the primary verb of a control.  I can't
seem to find that funtionality in Dolphin.  I would like to use
Codejock's ActiveX-based UI controls: The CommandBars control offers a
design environment that can save to a layout file.  That envionrment is
invoked via the primary ver.  How do I do this in Dolphin?

2. Again concerning the embedding of ActiveX, MT offers a way to
interactively invoke methods on the control in situ in order to
experiment with the control.  Is there a way to do this in Dolphin?

3. It appears to me that Dolphin supports multi-threading, but the
support is obfuscated slightly by my lack of knowledge of the Smalltalk
philosophy (i.e. cooperative multi-threading and a high level of
abstraction).  MT seems to wear multi-threading on its sleeve, and its
method of invocation is almost identical to WIN32's.  Does Dolphin
support multi-threading in a manner that I would expect; i.e. in a
manner consistent with the WIN32 approach?

4. Has anyone addressed OLEDB in Smalltalk?  MT includes it in their
professional version, including MS SQL Server and MS SQL Server Express
wrappers.  On the note of database connectivity, what's the Community's
opinion on ReStore?  The website appears to be a little stale, but I'm
not sure (it might be that the product is just that solid).

Thank you.

Eric

0
estaylor
5/12/2006 8:51:43 PM
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Eric,

> 2. Again concerning the embedding of ActiveX, MT offers a way to
> interactively invoke methods on the control in situ in order to
> experiment with the control.  Is there a way to do this in Dolphin?

The ActiveX Control Browser will probably do what you want.


> 3. It appears to me that Dolphin supports multi-threading, but the
> support is obfuscated slightly by my lack of knowledge of the Smalltalk
> philosophy (i.e. cooperative multi-threading and a high level of
> abstraction).  MT seems to wear multi-threading on its sleeve, and its
> method of invocation is almost identical to WIN32's.  Does Dolphin
> support multi-threading in a manner that I would expect; i.e. in a
> manner consistent with the WIN32 approach?

Yes and no.  Dolphin has a mechanism for marking external functions (in 
a DLL) as "overlapped" so they run on a separate OS thread.  Between 
that to keep external code from freezing up your image and Dolphin's 
"green threads", you can do very effective background processing. 
AFAIK, Dolphin does not as yet allow a way to call COM component methods 
on other than the main Dolphin thread.


> 4. Has anyone addressed OLEDB in Smalltalk?  MT includes it in their
> professional version, including MS SQL Server and MS SQL Server Express
> wrappers.  On the note of database connectivity, what's the Community's
> opinion on ReStore?  The website appears to be a little stale, but I'm
> not sure (it might be that the product is just that solid).

I have not used it, mostly because I had an OO-RDB mapping from my 
pre-Dolphin days.  Note that ReStore wants to control the schema, which 
is either a lot of help or a limitation, depending on the type of work 
you do.


Have a good one,

Bill

-- 
Wilhelm K. Schwab, Ph.D.
bills@anest4.anest.ufl.edu
0
Bill
5/12/2006 10:37:56 PM
Bill,

Thank you for your reply.

> The ActiveX Control Browser will probably do what you want.

I have explored this browser, but there isn't an obvious way to either
invoke the primary verb, or invoke methods in situ.

> Note that ReStore wants to control the schema...

What exactly do you mean by this?

Eric

0
estaylor
5/12/2006 11:05:43 PM
estaylor@cgpaint.com escribi�:
> Bill,
> 
> Thank you for your reply.
> 
>> The ActiveX Control Browser will probably do what you want.
> 
> I have explored this browser, but there isn't an obvious way to either
> invoke the primary verb, or invoke methods in situ.

What do you mean by primary verb?
Does the control in question provides an IDispatch interface?

>> Note that ReStore wants to control the schema...
> 
> What exactly do you mean by this?

With ReStore you define your domain model objects, and ReStore
creates the schema according to his own rules,
you can't define the schema, or the table names, etc.

AFAIR, it's a solid product, being the most commercial solution used for 
O/R persistence (according to an online survey).

Regards,

--
Esteban
0
Esteban
5/13/2006 3:42:18 AM
estaylor@cgpaint.com wrote:

> 1. Concerning the embedding of an ActiveX component in a view, MT
> offers a simple way to execute the primary verb of a control.  I can't
> seem to find that funtionality in Dolphin.

Presumably, it would involve sending
#doVerb:msg:activeSite:parentView:rectangle: to your
IOleObject with a parameter of OLEIVERB_PRIMARY (0), but I have no idea what
the other parameters should be.

(Yes, I realise that's not much help, but since I was replying anyway... ;-)


> 2. Again concerning the embedding of ActiveX, MT offers a way to
> interactively invoke methods on the control in situ in order to
> experiment with the control.  Is there a way to do this in Dolphin?

The centre pane of the ActiveX Control Browser is a full workspace, you can
execute any code you want there.  "self" is bound to the selection in the tree
on the left. Or is that not what you meant ?


> 3. It appears to me that Dolphin supports multi-threading, but the
> support is obfuscated slightly by my lack of knowledge of the Smalltalk
> philosophy (i.e. cooperative multi-threading and a high level of
> abstraction).

Dolphin is pre-emptively (not cooperatively) multitasked within a single OS
thread.  The only support for executing multiple real threads is via the
overlapped call mechanism.  That is be used to execute external calls in
separate OS threads without blocking the entire Dolphin image (only the
Smalltalk Process which made the call).  In D6 the thread is bound to the
calling Process and the same thread will be used for all future overlapped
calls by that Process.

External callback from non-Dolphin threads are marshalled across to the
Smalltalk thread transparently to the caller, but of course there is an
execution cost, and there may also be deadlock issues.


> MT seems to wear multi-threading on its sleeve,

Hence the name ;-)   MT uses OS threads, and so its threading is /very/
different from (generally superior to) Dolphins.


> and its
> method of invocation is almost identical to WIN32's.

That's an example of the general difference in philosophy between MT and
Dolphin.  Dolphin attempts to provide properly designed abstractions of
services which are ultimately implemented in the OS (or by other external
DLLs).  MT just hits you with 'em raw...

    -- chris



0
Chris
5/13/2006 9:40:27 AM
Please note,

>
> With ReStore you define your domain model objects, and ReStore
> creates the schema according to his own rules,
> you can't define the schema, or the table names, etc.

ReStore does define the schema and generate the database tables based
on the names of your Smalltalk classes. However, once the tables have
been generated, you can change the name of the tables. This is required
due to the fact that in Smalltalk, class names may change during design
or re-design of a given application. This allows the object world and
or mapping to stay in synch. It also allows you to create more
meaningful names for database tables.

The following is a link to the ReStore docs regarding the topic:

http://www.solutionsoft.co.uk/restore/manual/customising4.htm


I would imagine, future versions of ReStore may allow developers to
access or modify the database schema thus allowing some degree of
control. But, thats just my two cents worth.

Pax

0
Pax
5/13/2006 3:19:48 PM
<estaylor@cgpaint.com> wrote in message 
news:1147467103.303089.22560@j73g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Forum,
>
> We have pretty much settled on Dolphin as the Smalltalk implementation
> of choice (the decision finally came down to Dolphin or MT).  But MT
> does have a couple of features that are useful and productive, and I
> was would like to know if perhaps the functionality already exists in
> Dolphin, but maybe not so straightforward.
>
> 1. Concerning the embedding of an ActiveX component in a view, MT
> offers a simple way to execute the primary verb of a control.  I can't
> seem to find that funtionality in Dolphin.  I would like to use
> Codejock's ActiveX-based UI controls: The CommandBars control offers a
> design environment that can save to a layout file.  That envionrment is
> invoked via the primary ver.  How do I do this in Dolphin?

You could use the same approach as in AXControlSite>>editControlProperties, 
alternatively just add an extension method like this, and then you can do it 
as simply as 'site doVerb: 0'.

!AXControlSite methodsFor!

doVerb: anInteger
 ^(self controlUnknown queryInterface: IOleObject)
  ifNil: [self controlUnknown hresultError: E_NOINTERFACE]
  ifNotNil:
   [:oleObj |
   | hr |
   hr := oleObj
      doVerb: anInteger
      msg: nil
      activeSite: (self hostInterface queryInterface: IOleClientSite)
      parentView: self
      rectangle: self clientRectangle.
   oleObj free.
   hr]! !
!AXControlSite categoriesFor: #doVerb:!public! !

Remember you always have the option in Smalltalk of extending the base 
classes (or modifying them, although this is a priviledge that should be 
used with caution). If you think an extension (such as the above) might be 
generally useful and you want to save yourself the trouble of maintaining it 
in future, you can lobby to have it included in the base release. In this 
case it is already in the next minor release :-)

>
> 2. Again concerning the embedding of ActiveX, MT offers a way to
> interactively invoke methods on the control in situ in order to
> experiment with the control.  Is there a way to do this in Dolphin?

You can either generate the interface(s) and then just execute methods in an 
inspector (e.g. the one in the AXControlBrowser). Generating the control 
interfaces has a lot of advantages, among them is that you will get 
auto-completion.

Alternatively you can use the convenience methods on IDispatch, i.e. 
#invoke:[with:]*. These allow you to invoke an arbitrary method by name, and 
to pass appropriate arguments. You can also make use of the "message not 
understood" handling done by IDispatch - it will attempt to map messages it 
does not understand onto invocations of methods in the control. However it 
does this entirely through IDispatch, and does not use type info even if 
available, and hence it is not really that useful. A particular problem is 
that the syntax of Smalltalk does not allow one to distinguish between 
property assignments and method invocations. It is possible that this will 
be improved in a future release - there is quite a lot in the newsgroup 
archive on the subject.

>
> 3. It appears to me that Dolphin supports multi-threading, but the
> support is obfuscated slightly by my lack of knowledge of the Smalltalk
> philosophy (i.e. cooperative multi-threading and a high level of
> abstraction).  MT seems to wear multi-threading on its sleeve, and its
> method of invocation is almost identical to WIN32's.  Does Dolphin
> support multi-threading in a manner that I would expect; i.e. in a
> manner consistent with the WIN32 approach?

Dolphin currently implements only "green threads", much akin to Win32 
"fibers". You can do native API calls on other threads, however, by marking 
the calls as overlapped.

>
> 4. Has anyone addressed OLEDB in Smalltalk?  MT includes it in their
> professional version, including MS SQL Server and MS SQL Server Express
> wrappers.  On the note of database connectivity, what's the Community's
> opinion on ReStore?  The website appears to be a little stale, but I'm
> not sure (it might be that the product is just that solid).

I can only speak for Dolphin, in which case I've not heard of anything, 
although it could be done. The only support we have for using OLEDB is 
through ADO.

Regards

Blair 


0
Blair
5/13/2006 3:38:40 PM
Esteban,

I apologize for taking so long.  I've been swamped.

>What do you mean by primary verb?
>Does the control in question provides an IDispatch interface?

ActiveX controls sometimes define one or more verbs that allow external
connection to the control, but not necessarily interaction, as is the
case through IDispatch.  For example, with Codejock's
XtremeCommandBars, the primary verb invokes the CommandBars Designer,
where you can define your menus and/or toolbars and even save the
layout to a layout file that can be dynamically loaded or swapped out
at runtime.  Now, this is not really an integral feature of the
control, but rather a design interface onto the control.  An analogy
would be the difference between the VC and simply issuing "SomeView
show" in a workspace.

But it looks like Mr. McGlashan answered my question in detail.  It
might instructive to you as well.

>AFAIR, it's [ReStore's] a solid product, being the most commercial solution used for
>O/R persistence (according to an online survey).

Yes, it looks very promising indeed, but I think we're going to go with
Gemstone/S and GemBuilder as a longer-term solution to OODBMS.  We're
still in the evaluation phase of choosing a database paradigm.

Eric

0
estaylor
5/14/2006 7:00:50 PM
Pax,

Thank you for the specific link.

So, it would seem that ReStore is not stale after all.  I say that
because you wrote of "future versions."  The website shows 2003 as the
last time there were any significant updates.

Eric

0
estaylor
5/14/2006 7:02:43 PM
Chris,

I apologize for taking so long to respond.

>Presumably, it would involve sending
>#doVerb:msg:activeSite:parentView:rectangle: to your
>IOleObject with a parameter of OLEIVERB_PRIMARY (0), but I have no idea what
>the other parameters should be.

Yes, that is quite helpful, and together with Mr. McGlashan response,
tells me everything I need to know.

>The centre pane of the ActiveX Control Browser is a full workspace, you can
>execute any code you want there.  "self" is bound to the selection in the tree
>on the left. Or is that not what you meant ?

The ActiveX Control Browser is awesome!  You pointed me in the right
direction.  I simply generate the interface and load the control into
the ACB, and I'm free to play around with the control in ways I've
never been able to before (by that I mean in such a dynamic way).
Dolphin's ACB blows MT's away.

>External callback from non-Dolphin threads are marshalled across to the
>Smalltalk thread transparently to the caller, but of course there is an
>execution cost, and there may also be deadlock issues.

This one concerns me, but I'll have to table the issue for now.  We
have a laundry list entitled "Can Dolphin Do This...?"  Multi-threading
is down a ways, but in any case, out-of-process solutions are always
possible, and I'm pretty comfortable with how to get data and calls
back and forth across process boundaries.

>That's an example of the general difference in philosophy between MT and Dolphin.

I've begun to see that there is an infinitude of differences between
Dolphin and MT.  I could see purchasing MT in addition to Dolphin, but
only as a WIN32 playground.  It's very easy in MT to try out WIN32
calls in the same dynamic way that one can experiment with ActiveX
controls in the ACB, which is worth the $99 price tag of the personal
edition.  I don't mean to suggest that Dolphin can't do this, but it
would seem that MT was designed specifically with this in mind.

Thank you for your great advice and direction!

Eric

0
estaylor
5/14/2006 7:18:58 PM
GemStone is a wonderful database system to work with, particularlly if you 
are using a smalltalk client.

There are some tricks you can use with copy on update and such to make an 
object model sing in GemStone.  Because the object model (Smalltalk) is so 
familiar, and the support for rich structure is there you have lots of good 
options for representing a problem.  The conflict free collections also make 
a big difference in creating a transactional scaleable solution.  Their new 
64 bit VM can handle a huge number of objects, and a ton of shared memory.

Highly recommended.

Michael


<estaylor@cgpaint.com> wrote in message 
news:1147633250.053070.91930@i40g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> Esteban,
>
> I apologize for taking so long.  I've been swamped.
>
>>What do you mean by primary verb?
>>Does the control in question provides an IDispatch interface?
>
> ActiveX controls sometimes define one or more verbs that allow external
> connection to the control, but not necessarily interaction, as is the
> case through IDispatch.  For example, with Codejock's
> XtremeCommandBars, the primary verb invokes the CommandBars Designer,
> where you can define your menus and/or toolbars and even save the
> layout to a layout file that can be dynamically loaded or swapped out
> at runtime.  Now, this is not really an integral feature of the
> control, but rather a design interface onto the control.  An analogy
> would be the difference between the VC and simply issuing "SomeView
> show" in a workspace.
>
> But it looks like Mr. McGlashan answered my question in detail.  It
> might instructive to you as well.
>
>>AFAIR, it's [ReStore's] a solid product, being the most commercial 
>>solution used for
>>O/R persistence (according to an online survey).
>
> Yes, it looks very promising indeed, but I think we're going to go with
> Gemstone/S and GemBuilder as a longer-term solution to OODBMS.  We're
> still in the evaluation phase of choosing a database paradigm.
>
> Eric
> 


0
Michael
5/14/2006 7:23:03 PM
Blair,

Thank you for your reply!

>Remember you always have the option in Smalltalk of extending the base
>classes (or modifying them, although this is a priviledge that should be
>used with caution). If you think an extension (such as the above) might be
>generally useful and you want to save yourself the trouble of maintaining it
>in future, you can lobby to have it included in the base release. In this
>case it is already in the next minor release :-)

I'm beginning to catch on concerning the extensibility of Smalltalk.
I've grown so accustomed to fetters that it's going to be tough to
adapt at first.  Thank you for converting my naive question into an
addition to the base :-).  As for the code fragment you provided, I'm
still digesting it.  I'm new to the practice of Smalltalk; my knowledge
of it has been strictly theoretical, as point and counterpoint to
Eiffel.

>You can either generate the interface(s) and then just execute methods in an
>inspector (e.g. the one in the AXControlBrowser). Generating the control
>interfaces has a lot of advantages, among them is that you will get
>auto-completion.

Yes, yes!  I experimented with this for at least half a day yesterday,
and it's wonderful to be able to play with an ActiveX control so
dynamically.  MT's ActiveX browser has nothing on yours.  I see the
advantage--one could say, necessity--of generating the interface to the
control, but #invoke:with: will certainly come in handy for those
features of a control that have either not been exposed properly or not
been exposed clearly by the control's designers.

>Dolphin currently implements only "green threads", much akin to Win32
>"fibers". You can do native API calls on other threads, however, by marking
>the calls as overlapped.

This is the answer that says it all.  O.K., now I have a frame of
reference that I can work with.

>I can only speak for Dolphin, in which case I've not heard of anything,
>although it could be done. The only support we have for using OLEDB is
>through ADO.

This is sufficient for now, and ADO is quite robust, some complaints
against it notwithstanding.

Cheers.

Eric

0
estaylor
5/14/2006 7:43:19 PM
Michael,

>GemStone is a wonderful database system to work with, particularlly if you
>are using a smalltalk client.

I've been reading the documentation over the weekend, and I'm very
excited.  I put a call into their headquarters at the suggestion of
their regional office in California concerning reporting tools.  I
should get a call back Monday.

My only concern at this point is just that: reporting tools.  Is there
some kind of [conventional] interface to the database so that reporting
tools like Crystal could get to the data?  Or are there tools out there
already?  I think GemConnect might be the answer, but I'm not sure.  It
seems to focus more on pass-through access to conventional
repositories.

Incidentally, what is the cost of GemStone/S and GemStone/S 64?  They
don't have prices on their website, which usually means one has to take
out a home equity loan :-)

Cheers.

Eric

0
estaylor
5/14/2006 9:01:59 PM
I am not sure what the current pricing is.  I believe that they understand 
that they are competing in a world of free open source databases and 
commercial databases like SQL Server that start at about $1000 per server or 
are $5000 for unlimited users on one box.  I would hope their pricing is in 
line with the competition, with at most a small margin for their unique 
position.  On large server installations I imagine the numbers are large 
just like all the other commercial servers.  If you want to run on a Sun 
mainframe it will cost you.

I think the GemConnect product is the only thing that might make it 
available for conventional reporting uses. In general it is not a good idea 
to report directly on the operational database anyway unless you oversize 
the server as reporting can hig a system hard when mixed with short 
interactive response time driven database transactions.  You can always have 
code in GemStone that continually exports data to a reporting database that 
is an SQL database using GemConnect if it does not work well enough for 
directly reporting on GemStone.  I imagine they have encoutnered this many 
times before.

Michael


<estaylor@cgpaint.com> wrote in message 
news:1147640519.380856.8520@i40g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> Michael,
>
>>GemStone is a wonderful database system to work with, particularlly if you
>>are using a smalltalk client.
>
> I've been reading the documentation over the weekend, and I'm very
> excited.  I put a call into their headquarters at the suggestion of
> their regional office in California concerning reporting tools.  I
> should get a call back Monday.
>
> My only concern at this point is just that: reporting tools.  Is there
> some kind of [conventional] interface to the database so that reporting
> tools like Crystal could get to the data?  Or are there tools out there
> already?  I think GemConnect might be the answer, but I'm not sure.  It
> seems to focus more on pass-through access to conventional
> repositories.
>
> Incidentally, what is the cost of GemStone/S and GemStone/S 64?  They
> don't have prices on their website, which usually means one has to take
> out a home equity loan :-)
>
> Cheers.
>
> Eric
> 


0
Michael
5/14/2006 9:13:21 PM
Reply:

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It looks very cool; thank you for making it available. The website says to send an email if you want to try it out; who should we send it to, you ? /********************************************************/ Sorry for the late answer. Yes, send an email to me, specifying: - Name. - Company. - Purpose. - And your GemStone version (5.1 or 6.1). Both are beta version, but we are going to do more extensive test to GemBuilder for GS 6.1. Regards Bruno ...

Dolphin Smalltalk X6 Released
Folks, Well we made it! Only a week late (or a year depending on who's counting). The new website is up and the product is ready for those of you keen enough to upgrade. I'd like to mention a couple of important points. We have rationalised the Dolphin products set into two products. We now only provide a single commercial product, Dolphin Professional and we will have a free version called Dolphin Community Edition. You will find that the latter actually has quite a lot more stuff in it than the old Value Edition. However, at the moment the Community Edition and a trial...

Web resources about - Dolphin Smalltalk v. Smalltalk MT - comp.lang.smalltalk.dolphin

Cincom Smalltalk - Software Product Development, Application Development Tools
Cincom Smalltalk – Our application development tools cut all complexities surrounding software product development thus accelerating your potential ...

On Smalltalk
I'll assume you've already installed Apache and now want to install Gemstone behind it as a Seaside server. Let's install a few things that we're ...

Smalltalk.org&#153 -   main
The first place to link to for Smalltalk related resources. 'The best way to predict the future is to invent it' - Alan Kay.

Smalltalk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Smalltalk-80: The Language and its Implementation , a.k.a. the "Blue book", a seminal book on the language Smalltalk is an object-oriented , ...

GNU Smalltalk - The Smalltalk for those who can type
GNU Smalltalk is a free implementation of the Smalltalk-80 language. It runs on most POSIX compatible operating systems (including GNU/Linux, ...

SmallTalk Aphasia - Male on the App Store on iTunes
Get SmallTalk Aphasia - Male on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.

Flickr: "smalltalk"
Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to ...

Extreme Startup, Smalltalk and Server Login Considered Harmful at XP Days Benelux
What do Extreme Startup, Smalltalk and Server Login Considered Harmful have in common? I’ve made some slides to promote sessions about them at ...


Dan Ingalls on the History of Smalltalk and the Lively Kernel
Dan Ingalls explains the ideas that went into Smalltalk, how it was developed at Xerox PARC, the ideas that went into Squeak, and his latest ...

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