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[Help-smalltalk] Wireworld animated GIF renderer - also questions on sty

From: John Morrice
Subject: [Help-smalltalk] Wireworld animated GIF renderer - also questions on style and distribution
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2010 22:07:30 +0000

Hi list!

Recently I found a Rosetta code task which asked readers to submit
implementations of the Wireworld cellular automaton in various
languages.  See:

I noticed that Smalltalk was not on the list, so I decided to try
learning it and completing the task.  My efforts can be found here:

You can have a peek at the animated output here:

What it does:

* Reads wireworld programs in the format described on the Rosetta
  Code page.
* Produces animated (pseudo) GIFs of the simulation, using libplot from
  GNU Plotutils.
* Crashes with uninformative error messages on incorrect input because
  it does no error handling whatsoever.

This is my first Smalltalk program.  I really enjoyed writing it - but I
am yet a complete newbie!  I've only read the GNU Smalltalk tutorial and
parts of the user guide at

Inevitably I have questions:

* I have not parcelled my program as a package. I've read about
  Smalltalk packages though, and I see that a package can depend on a
  shared object being installed. 
  However, my program contains C code which is compiled to a shared
  library and then loaded dynamically in Smalltalk.  I couldn't see
  anything in the user manual which would suggest that C source can be
  distributed as part of a package, and compiled on the user's machine.
  Am I right or are there Smalltalk tools that help with this?
  More broadly: am I doing it wrong? 
  What is the convention for dealing with this?

* I'm used to choosing method and function names in Ruby,
  Haskell and C that describe the intent of the function.  In
  Smalltalk I'm finding this difficult because I need multiple
  selector names, one: for each: parameter, so I have to choose multiple
  selector names which together describe the intent.  I'm not sure
  why, but I find this very difficult.  Any advice?

Cheers guys,


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