Help - The Squeak Environment - 5. What's so special about the Squeak environment?

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Let's state it in a number of slogans, which we shall explain briefly. Squeak is all of the following things:

Very Flexible
Very Versatile
Very Powerful
Very Easy
Great Fun
Quite complex

Very Flexible: Everything you see can be altered in many respects - size, color, mode of presentation and can be set in many ways. One such set of ways is in the menu Preferences (which you can get from the World Menu or the Squeak flap: see below).

Very Versatile: You can write, draw, compose, calculate, program, make presentations, edit pictures, edit sound, go on the internet, with Squeak - and all with complete source code, fully explaining these many capacities, and fully yours to adapt, improve and extend.

Very Powerful: The user environment you are in and see itself is written in Squeak, which is a universal programming language of great elegance. Anything that a computer may compute, may be written in the Squeak Language, while the Squeak Environment gives you full command and access to it, and to everything Squeak is and can do.

Very Easy: Much of Squeak's powers, and especially those of its environment, is very easy to access and use, though again it takes some getting used to because the environent is so different from what you are used to and is so powerful, complex and many-faceted.

Great Fun: Because of Squeak's ease of use and great power, it is great fun once one has gotten used to the environment. Also, it can be very helpful very fast, especially in education and in art.

Quite complex: It cannot be denied that all in all Squeak is complex, many-layered, and difficult to learn in all its many aspects. Also, learning to program a universal programming language like Squeak is never easy. (However: You cannot have great power and use that great power with great understanding without considerable preparatory labor.)

Squeak Help attempts to teach you Squeak in a clear no nonsense way, in clear English. It wil also not attempt to make complex things seem simple or simple things seem complex. Squeak Help will also not present as "easy" such things as are quite feasible and enjoyable with Squeak, like writing your own quite complex programs doing completely new, original and worthwile things in Squeak. This you can learn, and this is fun to do and fun to learn - but it is not learned in a few hours or a few days.

The Good News concerning learning to program in Squeak is that Squeak is easier, clearer and more elegant than all or most other programming languages. The Less Good News is that a powerful programming language is not easily grasped, not in one go, and not in one day or week. But then the same holds for any piece of worthwile mathematics. (And indeed in the end that is what Squeak is: Applied mathematics as environment, plus a formal mathematical language to program computers in, bundled together with many applications that have already been programmed and do not need any complicated programming on the part of the user, beyond clicking, typing and some rational thinking. Those who have learned to hate mathematics when in school, these days can see with a computer what mathematics is really about: Fun, beauty, elegance - and all in a rational way.)

But to return from the eventual complexities of learning to program in the Squeak Language, let's consider the Squeak Environment we're in.

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