blogging and tech support

I’ve found that numerous times when I type into google a technical question, be it an error message that I’m seeing when installing some software package or some feature about a programming language, that where I often end up is in some person’s blog where they describe how they coped with exactly the same problem. This phenomenon seems to me a generalized solution to tech support, and also a wonderfully comunal and gift economy approach to problem solving. So I’ve decided to play the game too by creating a category for this blog called solutions, and, as often as I can, post my minor little breakthroughs in hopes that they will be helpful to someone else. And here’s my first:

I’ve been learning Smalltalk using squeak and I assumed that, like other object-oriented languages, there would be a constructor method that could take many parameters which would be used by the constructor to load up the values of instance variables. For example in perl a simplified constructure would look like:

sub new {
my $class = shift;
my $self = {};
bless $self, $class;
$self->{'FOO'} = shift; # save the constructor parameters into our data structure
$self->{'BAR'} = shift;
return $self;

which would be instantiated like this:

In Smalltalk, it appears, you don’t do that. Instead you just create settors for your parameters and chain them to the new call. So you would have two methods:

setFoo: fooVal
foo := fooVal
setBar: barVal
bar := barVal

and your call to instantiate an object is then just:
theObjectClassName new setFoo:'fish' setBar:'dog'

because the first two words create the object and the the second two are just messages that get to the object after it is created, one at a time.

I love the beautiful parsimony of notions in Smalltalk.

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