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.


sig said...

The latest Pharo-core image is quite fast. In a last half of year it progressed quite well in quality and speed.
Its slows things down mainly when you using OB with many many addons.

Torsten said...

Looks like you tried "pharo-dev" (the developer image) instead of the "pharo-core" image.

Some developer tools in the "pharo-dev" image are slow (like the OB Browser) - on the other hand there is functionality you wont find in Squeak.

Torsten said...

The Mac-like look is only a default for Polymorph (the UI framework).

You can switch to other themes (Vista, Win2K, Squeak, custom, ...) in the preferences.

Bruce Haugland said...

The latest release of Pharo (1.1) blew me away with how much faster it was (At least on my 1.6Ghz machine.) then 1.0

If the improvements keep coming at this rate Pharo will quickly pass squeak particularly for those of us who want something leaner then squeak.

MCAndre said...

My dealbreaker for Pharo and Squeak is that it's very hard to get a command line interface. I never thought of this as a feature in other languages; I took something as simple as a CLI for granted. I'll stick with Ruby for now.