Friday, March 19, 2010

Squeak vs Pharo

How does Squeak compare to Pharo?

Well, people will have different experiences. Some will find the features of Pharo appealing. Pharo comes with a huge range of developer tools: syntax highlighting, autocompletion, code refactoring tools and a whole lot of smaller enhancements that people might like.

Pharo looks nicer than Squeak. They've dared to change the menus around, in my opinion, for the better. They've taken a lot of inspiration ("blatently copied") from the Macintosh UI. They've also changed much of the interaction with the user, although the whole UI still freezes up whenever the image is doing something (please, learn to use multi-threading! It isn't hard!).

I've been living on Pharo for the last 6 months because I wanted to use and modify the NewCompiler. I've gone back to Squeak. Why? Pharo is too slow. I have a Celeron clocked at 1.7GHz. Pharo's debugger takes forever to appear when something goes wrong. The browser is very laggy to type into. The UI in general looks like a Porshe, but certainly doesn't perform like one.

The deal-breaker for me was that Pharo couldn't load a Monticello package I wrote. Pharo would freeze up, and alt-. would not recover it. Apparently this has been fixed in the later releases.

So I'm back in Squeak. It's still slow like Squeak is, but at least the debugger comes up in a reasonable amount of time.