Using Squeak for Teaching User Interface Software
Squeak is a new programming language based on an old one that skipped some 15 years of development. Squeak is highly cross-platform, running on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, BeOS, and Windows CE devices (among others) bit-identically. It has been updated with modern features, such as web browsing and serving, 3-D graphics engine, and powerful sound synthesis. Squeak is an excellent pedagogical platform because it doesn't presume a windowing operating system. Instead, Squeak implements all of the windowing and other user interface software itself, providing both a rich set of examples and a bare substrate on which one can explore and build user interfaces from scratch. We have used Squeak both to enhance the infrastructure for our course, and to change how we teach user interfaces. We present a pilot study suggesting benefits of the new approach.