Highlights from the Zürich Smalltalk Meetup November 10th 2023

On November 10th, 2023, the vibrant city of Zürich played host to a gathering of Smalltalk enthusiasts. Organized by the ever-dedicated Peter Ursprung, this fall’s meetup featured four talks that delved into the depths of Smalltalk’s versatility and its modern applications. To top it off, attendees had the pleasure of enjoying some fine wine, adding an extra layer of conviviality to the event.

1. Agile Artificial Intelligence by A. Bergel

A. Bergel took the stage to explore the hot topic of Artificial Intelligence in Pharo. His talk delved into the fascinating realm of learning with neural networks, genetic algorithms, and neuroevolution. Attendees were treated to captivating demonstrations, including an AI learning to master a Nintendo’s Mario-like game and an artificial organism evolving its way to walking proficiency. For those eager to dive deeper, A. Bergel’s book, “Agile Artificial Intelligence in Pharo – Implementing Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, and Neuroevolution,” offers an invaluable resource.

2. PharoJS by N. Bouraqadi

I introduced attendees to  PharoJS, an how it bridges Pharo and JavaScript worlds. The goal of PharoJS is to empower developers to create Pharo applications that seamlessly run on JavaScript. The talk showcased various success stories, including commercial applications, mobile apps for Android and iPhone smartphones, and both client-side and server-side web applications. A live demo showcased the workflow for PharoJS development. You can find the slides of this talk right below.

3. Implementing Formats and Protocols Easily by M. Balda

M. Balda’s talk addressed a common challenge in the world of data handling: encoding for storing or exchanging data with complex structures. The presentation proposed an innovative approach that simplifies the development of readers and writers for diverse protocols and data formats. It’s a game-changer for anyone grappling with data intricacies, promising to streamline the development process.

4. Scratch Your Own Itch: Creating a Small Accounting Web App by M. Fluor

M. Fluor shared an inspiring journey, showcasing what newcomers to Smalltalk can achieve within a relatively short time frame. After discovering Pharo, the speaker embarked on the ambitious task of creating an accounting application tailored for house rentals. The result? A sophisticated web application developed using Seaside, capable of generating various PDF documents for accounting and tax purposes. It’s a testament to the practicality and power of Smalltalk for real-world applications.

The attendees of this last meetup for 2023 left with fresh insights, newfound inspiration, and a deeper appreciation for the innovative potential of Smalltalk. Special thanks to Peter Ursprung for orchestrating this delightful event, where learning and networking seamlessly merged with the joy of fine wine.

The Zürich Smalltalk Group will have its next meetup Friday, 26 April 2024. More information will be soon available on the dedicated web page.

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