Choose your high goal and tell its story through the system that you build


I gave last week a talk at NDC Oslo on “Don’t demo facts. Demo stories!”. While the talk is less technical, I did exemplified the message by demoing Spotter in comparison with the search support from Eclipse.
There are several things I would like to emphasize.
I compared our solution with an “industry standard” one. We often think our system as being niche and perhaps not mature enough. We need to change that perception about our work. We build state of the art.
One thing that I did not mention explicitly in the talk is the size of the implementation. The Spotter implementation is 3500 lines of code — and that it is so large because it currently comes with its own widgets. Furthermore, the extensions average 8 lines per custom processor (including the method header and the pragma). This is orders of magnitude smaller than what is typically out there, and it is precisely the reason why we can compete even if we are fewer.
But, to get out there and compete we have to set that high goal for ourselves. For example, with GT we do not want to compete. We want to outcompete. So can you.
While details are important, high goals require us to get away from those details. Only polishing details will tend to limit you to incremental improvements. We need to jump from time to time. But, these jumps are hard. On the one hand, it is hard to find the right jump and convince people to jump with you. On the other hand, they are hard to predict. For example, Spotter would have not been predictable one year ago.
Yet, dry goals are not enough to keep us going. We need stories that make us dream. And the beauty is that Pharo breaths such a story. We should not limit ourselves to that story only. For example, with GT we want to reinvent the developer experience by making the developer be able to mold visual tools to her context because that is the only effective way to build sustainable systems. This little point of view will turn the IDE upside down, and this is only possible in a system like Pharo.
Choose your high goal and tell its story through the system that you build. And remember that Pharo already offers a beautiful story to start from.


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