Monday 19 October 2009

Magritte for VASt

Over the past month or so I have been doing some work for National Spaarfonds, including porting Magritte to VA Smalltalk. They are generously offering this work back to the community and I am happy to announce that I have just uploaded the first version of the VASt Magritte port to VAStGoodies.

You'll want to start with the VASt 8.0.1 [128] developer preview image and then load the configuration map from VAStGoodies. There are currently four failing tests: three caused (I think) by method inlining and one by differences in error handling behaviour. I haven't yet determined what (if anything) can be done about these.

A version of Pier ported to Seaside 3.0 and VASt won't be far behind but I have some more cleanup to do first in order to make sure it loads into a clean image.

Friday 9 October 2009

Vienna or bust

I've been wanting to visit Vienna at least since my arrival in Germany last year —particularly after trying to learn the Viennese Waltz in my ballroom dancing class—but could never convince anyone to come along. Thanks largely to an invitation from Bernhard Pieber, I finally made the trip.
And I've been busy: as well as trying to take in Viennese culture and some of the sights, I also presented an introduction to Seaside at mobilkom austria and had the chance to meet some local Smalltalk and Seaside developers over dinner and beer. It seems to take the arrival of a foreigner to prompt the locals to get together (no surprise: the same is true in my home town!).
Vienna is much as I imagined: a real "European" city with beautiful old architecture everywhere you look. A visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum would have been worth it just to see the building itself, but I was also struck by a couple of sculptures and by several paintings by Pieter Bruegel and Lucas I. van Valckenborch. It's interesting that I liked both artists since it turns out that van Valckenborch studied under Bruegel and Bruegel's Tower of Babel, which was displayed in the museum, was the model for van Valckenborch's version, which hangs in the Louvre.
First thing one morning, I walked to the Spanish Riding School to watch the exercises of the Lipizzaner Stallions. I thought Lipizzans were all grays but apparently that is simply the dominant and selected gene and it is tradition to keep at least one bay at the school at all times. The horses and their riders are impressively controlled and the Winter Riding School itself is astounding too: is there anywhere else in the world where you can ride a horse on a bed of sawdust, surrounded by two levels of marble balconies and lit by enormous chandeliers?

We saw a big band concert at a local jazz club and got standing-room tickets to a sold-out orchestral performance with Lang Lang (郎朗) on the piano and Zubin Mehta conducting. I would have gladly paid the extra for a seat if one was available, but these €6 standing tickets are a wonderful idea to make the symphony more accessible. The only disappointment was the sound in the concert hall, which seemed somewhat flat, probably due to our location under the balcony.

Schloss Schönbrunn (the former imperial palace) is also worth a visit. The expansive gardens are enjoyed in the mornings by walkers and runners and, despite the tourist hoards, the Gloriette perched on its hilltop behind the palace, creates a striking image. The palace museum was interesting too: among other things, I discovered that Marie Antoinette was Austrian (she, like most of her 10 sisters, were married to foreign royalty for political reasons).

Like I said, I've been busy.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Seaside 3.0a5

The fifth alpha release of Seaside 3.0 is out. Check out the release announcement. It's looking like Cincom, Instantiations, and GemStone will all include this version in their next upcoming releases; Pharo users can use the Seaside Builder to generate a load script. Squeak users will probably have success using the Builder as well, but we are looking for one or more people to actively test and maintain a Squeak port. Get in touch if you're interested.

We're expecting this to be the final alpha release, so now is the time to actually send in any bug reports you've been sitting on.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Languages - the other kind

A few days ago, Adriaan and I checked out Inglourious Basterds. It wasn't really what I was expecting (what was I expecting?) but it was well done overall and I enjoyed it. Christoph Waltz was the highlight for me: the cunning Col. Hans Landa was just plain interesting to watch. The movie kept me engaged right up until he finds the shoe (I'll leave it at that so as not to give anything away), at which point things seemed to go steeply downhill and the movie stopped feeling like it was going anywhere. It never really recovered.

The most rewarding part for me, though, was watching a movie with three spoken languages and understanding just about all of it. I was particularly keen to see the movie in the Netherlands where the absence of dubbing and my inability to read the subtitles left me free to take it in without distraction. Anyone know any other German/French/English movies that are worth seeing?