[etoys-dev] More Objects in Reference Manual

Edward Mokurai Cherlin mokurai at sugarlabs.org
Sun Oct 14 13:46:01 EDT 2012

I did make another pass over the Objects chapter, filling in the
Object Catalog entries that appear with eToyFriendly off, and adding
more images and references to bug reports.

On Wed, October 10, 2012 7:18 am, Rita Freudenberg wrote:
> Please do not add or remove objects from the objects chapter. In this
> chapter, we will ONLY have objects you can find in the objects catalogue.

I disagree with this notion. However, it does not matter much to me
which chapter the descriptions appear in as long as I can make them
clear, correct, and complete.

> It does not matter in the object chapter in which subclasses these objects
> are implemented. The scope of information in the object chapter is Etoys,
> not Squeak

I disagree. This is a Reference Manual.

In addition, because of deficiencies in the Etoys implementation,
there are important properties of some Etoys objects that cannot be
managed in Etoys, but require use of Squeak to make those objects of
any use.

This is a separate topic, but I find that Etoys is in need of a major
refactoring, and also a detailed proofreading and a substantial
rewriting of exceedingly uninformative help text and comments. I am
shocked by the sloppiness I see.

> (i.e. the underlying programming language, you can only reach
> easily when you turn Etoy friendly off).

This turns out not to be the case. All of Squeak is accessible using
keyboard shortcuts, the inspect object menu item in the Players tool,
and the middle-click menu, regardless of the eToyFriendly setting.
Inspector, explorer, debugger, browser, senders, implementors,
references, selectors, method strings, class names, change sets,
workspace, transcript, and more.

Granted that none of this is easy to discover, nevertheless it is
quite easy to reach after only a few hints and brief explanations.
Understanding how to use the Squeak IDE and Smalltalk is of course
much more complicated than that.

The most obvious difference with eToyFriendly off is that Workspace
appears in the Object Catalog, but there are 49 places in Squeak
(senders) that refer to the eToyFriendly setting, and I have not had a
chance to look at them all.

> I'm happy to have an appendix with all the other objects and I'll move
> your descriptions to that chapter. It is very important information! But
> not for the average Etoys user, not for the teacher who just start using
> Etoys

It is my understanding that this is a Reference Manual, and not in any
way an introduction to Etoys for either teachers or students.

> and you can use Etoys happily for many challenges with your students
> without ever looking at the underlying Squeak source code.
> For computer science teachers, on the other hand, what you wrote down is
> very useful.

You and I seem to have very different views of what children are
interested in learning. In a word: everything. It is the worst sort of
condescension to tell children (or anybody) what they are allowed to
know about, except that it is even worse condescension to claim to
tell them what they _want_ to know about.

When I want to hear _your_ opinion, I'll *tell* it to you.--Any
tyranny since Plato, most notably the Prussian school system

The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female,
should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be
habituated to letting him (or her) do anything at all on his (or her)
own initiative–to his leader he shall direct his eye and follow him
faithfully. And even in the smallest matter he should stand under
leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take
his meals...only if he has been told to do so. In a word, he should
teach his soul, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently,
and to become utterly incapable of it.

    Plato, Laws 942d (350 BCE)

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814)

    You must fashion [the person], and fashion him in such a way that
he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will.

    Addresses to the German Nation

What I wrote down is precisely what I would have liked to see when I
was eleven years old. What I would have demanded to see, in fact.

Etoys is an excellent introduction to programming, but at a certain
point vastly frustrating. At that point being able to go under the
hood into Squeak to fix broken objects or extend their capabilities is
of immense value. The notion that one must wait for a computer science
course to learn real programming is to me utterly contrary to the
reality that we hear from student programmers. We know for a fact,
from a great many studies involving a wide variety of programming
languages, that children can learn text-based programming languages
starting in third grade. I have a notion that we can start Turtle Art
in preschool, in large part by getting rid of the words on the tiles
and replacing them with Unicode symbols. I started to create such a
system last year, and wrote about it, with examples.


> In the appendix, I added the chapter "More etoys objects" and I started to
> copy all objects, which are not in the object catalog, to that chapter. We
> can discuss to move the chapter out of the appendices, but, as Karl also
> said, there should be a second chapter.

Then we should rename the Objects chapter, perhaps to The Basic Object Catalog.

> Greetings,
> Rita
> P.S. Thanks for the explanation about the logout problem, now it is
> solved!
> On Oct 7, 2012, at 5:19 PM, Edward Mokurai Cherlin wrote:
>> I have completed another pass over the Objects chapter in the Etoys
>> Reference Manual,
>> http://booki.flossmanuals.net/etoys-reference-manual/_edit/
>> dissecting objects into components, documenting the components,
>> identifying the Squeak sources for Etoys objects, adding v5 objects,
>> explaining bugs and design deficiencies, noting further information
>> needed, and finding more topics to explain elsewhere. Review and
>> comments welcome. I expect to make another pass again after I work on
>> other aspects of Etoys and Squeak for a while.
>> There was some confusion about my intention in creating a new chapter
>> for the book on Etoys Programming. I hope that my renaming the chapter
>> to Etoys Programming Tools will clarify that issue. As I said before,
>> and in the little bit I have written in the chapter, it is in no way
>> meant to teach how to program in Etoys, only to document how Etoys
>> supports software development. Other chapters describe elements of
>> this system (UI, scripting tiles, objects) piecemeal. This chapter
>> will give an integrated view of the Etoys IDE, including how it gives
>> access to Squeak, but will not attempt to explain Squeak programming.
>> --
>> Edward Mokurai (默雷/निशब्दगर्ज/نشبدگرج)
>> Cherlin
>> Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
>> The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
>> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Replacing_Textbooks
>> _______________________________________________
>> etoys-dev mailing list
>> etoys-dev at squeakland.org
>> http://lists.squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/etoys-dev
> Rita Freudenberg
> rita.freudenberg at ovgu.de

Edward Mokurai (默雷/निशब्दगर्ज/نشبدگرج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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