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VisualWorks documentation is designed to help both new and experienced developers create application programs effectively using the VisualWorks® application frameworks, tools, and libraries.

This document, the Application Developer’s Guide, focuses on the basics, such as:

  • Smalltalk syntax
  • VisualWorks development tools
  • Data structures (classes, methods, namespaces, etc.)
  • Program control structures
  • Application and graphics frameworks
  • Error handling and debugging

Other documents in the VisualWorks documentation set present

  • using basic and add-in libraries that provide features useful for specific application tasks,
  • detailed infomation about VisualWorks tools, and
  • tutorial introductions.

The documentation typically does not say everything there is to say about a particular feature, nor does it cover the features in complete detail. VisualWorks, like Smalltalk systems in general, is designed for exploration and experimentation. In this sense, the documentation is more like a map, identifying major features and how to get there, but the level of detail is often variable and leaves lots of room for discovery. Read the documentation as pointing out what is available in VisualWorks, and then explore beyond what is described, becoming increasingly “at home” with your environment.

One strength of Smalltalk that makes this exploration and discovery approach possible is that all of the source code available for browsing. Of course, that also means there is more code there than you need to understand, so you will need to figure out what to focus on and what to ignore. Class and method comments, and special documentation methods, can help here, and often provide details missing from the formal documentation.

Read the documentation to orient yourself to the language, tools, and libraries and their general use. It will help you to become successful quickly, and providing a foundation for your further exploration and mastery of the system.

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