Smalltalk and Adobe Flex

Some time ago i have written about seaside and squeak on my polish blog - here. reason for that was because people do not always realized that smalltalk didn’t die at the same time as dinosaurs. Anyway, i’m lucky and working not only with one technology so was very happy to find something called Glare. What it is ? This is simple speaking a project that integrate smalltalk (visualworks in that case) and adobe flex. Sounds brilliant at the first look, but when i thought about it, was really confused. Why ? Smalltalk for example in Squeak or VisualWorks implementation is for development the same thing like ipod for music listening. It’s just incredible well thought. Everything is in one place, and we have IDE which is really truly intregrated. This IDE is not like NetBeans for Rails for example -  there are not a big difference to develop with simple editor or complicated IDE. But here IDE is one of the biggest advantage of using Suqeak for example. So now, when you think about it, we have two different style of thinking about web development:

  1. Adobe Flex & AS3 - brilliant RIA framework with AS3, which is not the best language ever and comparing to smalltalk really complicated (+ use with puremvc, caingorm etc.)
  2. Smalltalk (VisualWorks & Squeak) - brilliant language with DSL, Metaprogramming and IDE which gives us improvement kick.
Old-Simpl—Beautiful and New-Complicated-Enterprise, it is good connection or not ? Not so simple to asnwer, but i’m not a big enthusiast of connecting milion technologies in one place, unfortunatelly often it’s a must. I’m also using Ruby on Rails and Flex but the best practice will be using one technology, one language, sadly you are not doing what you want everytime. But glare is really interesting thing to try. On other hand remember that we have here Gemstone/S giving really scallable possibilities. I’m not sure we can use it inside glare but if so, this solution will be brilliant.

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9 Responses to “Smalltalk and Adobe Flex”

  1. daleh Says:


    I have been very interested in Glare ever since I saw it at ESUG last year. A Flex-based interface is on the (long) list of things we're looking at for GemStone/S and GLASS.

    I would be willing to provide help and guidance for doing something like Glare for GemStone in the short term. In the longer term we might very well do something ourselves.

  2. mwyrobek Says:

    I'm really interesting in this but nowadays working on few projects and not sure i am able to do it in "short term", have to think about it, but its really valuable thing to do. We will see.

  3. Ernest Says:

    The Glare project (new location has two "faces".

    The GlareUI approach uses the concept of a Seaside brush and lets you define interfaces completely in Smalltalk (requires special Flex client). It works best for simple interfaces that rely on the Flex framework only. I have been told by Philipp Bunge that this part of the project is no longer maintained.

    The Glare-DataServices approach uses Smalltalk as an AMF based services layer. This allows any Flex/AIR developer to use services (via RemoteObject) implemented in Smalltalk (VW for now). This project is now actively maintained by me and is used for the development of a commercial application right now.

    Personally, I am not in favor of doing everything in a single language. Every language has is strong and weak points; one should use the language that fits the problem. In case of ActionScript (Flex), their are lots and lots of good libraries available to do both amazing and useful things. It is simply not possible to reflect all of these technologies in Smalltalk just to make them available to your own Smalltalk-only environment.

  4. mwyrobek Says:

    so good to see that project is active :) url should be But svn repo in google code looks empty now.

  5. Ernest Says:

    thx for correcting the url ; hit the submit too soon.

    As for the source code, the Cincom Public Store is where the Smalltalk code lives. The GlareUI client code will remain on The google svn repo will soon have the glare-dataservices-test project. Finally, I need to copy some documentation over to the google project.

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