Smalltalk and Python

David Bolen db3l at
Wed Dec 13 16:16:06 EST 2000

Aaron Jon Reichow <reichowa at> writes:

> On 13 Dec 2000, Erno Kuusela wrote:
> > the thing that struck me as a little foreign was the apparent
> > isolation of the smalltalk image from the rest of the operating system
> > and the filesystem. i want to be able to grep code!
> While I'm not a proponent of Smalltalk isolationism, grep is a useless
> tool (more or less), simply an artifact, ye, a symptom of the
> sickness known as file-based development.

I'm not sure I'd call it a "sickness" since any development model is
just that - a model - it may be better or worse than some other model,
but at least for me, a file-based model works well in many cases.

My biggest problem with the integrated models (with database or other
repository back-ends) tends to be that often they aren't yet fleshed
out enough, or in many cases flexible enough, to replicate all the
functionality I can get out of a file based system with a current
collection of file based tools that have had lots of time to evolve
for efficiency and flexibility.

With file-based environments, I generally feel safe that if the
environment itself doesn't support something, there are enough tools
that understand the back-end repository (e.g., files) that I can get
what I want even if I have to go outside the integrated system.  That
may not be possible with a closed back-end repository.

As was noted elsewhere in this thread, and to tie a little more back
into Python, this can also be an issue with Zope.  For example, Zope
may provide grep-like functionality that works through the object
store, but it may be difficult to replicate what in a filesystem might
be a grep piped into an awk to produce summary information.  Now maybe
the right answer is that the same functionality should be done in some
other manner with Zope, but it may also be a point of needed
functionality just not yet being supported by the development model.
(I know in my case there's also a little "queasiness" just because of
a feeling of lack of control over the store, which I think is just an
side-effect of my primary file-based focus for so long).

But if the repository model is flexible enough to permit the eventual
creation of the smaller tools and then their coupling on an as-need
basis (which Zope may well be for example), then it's more a question
of a minimal set of functionality to feel comfortable to those of us
more used to the file system and utilities and tools that we've gained
proficiency in - that tool proficiency generally leading to
development efficiency.

-- David
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