I wrote a small bit of code called MethodShopping a little while back
which as it turned out had just been done in Ruby a few days earlier!
More importantly however is that both the name, MethodFinder, and the
inspiration for that other Ruby version, was Smalltalk. Smalltalk had
a version who knows how many decades ago?..
My inspiration wasn’t Smalltalk, but laziness. I didn’t want to have
to go pouring over a class’ interface in a tedious search for a
method. I just wanted to be able to throw the result at a class and
have it spit out the right method. Still, I thought, hmm, somethin’
to this Smalltalk stuff. (A slight overstatement, at least given my
understanding that much of Ruby’s object system, classes and methods
are already derived from Smalltalk.)
Then I noticed that Rick DeNatale (or is it De Natale?), an old (Your
term Rick!) Smalltalker has recently starting blogging, and about
Ruby. I’m really stoked that we’re getting old Smalltalkers
participating. There’s a ton of fantastic experience there. What
other gems like MethodFinder am I busily reinventing? I’d like to
Well, right now I’d like to know what Smalltalkers think of the
discussion about collections. What of your experience helps inform
the class structure for Array, Hash, etcetera? With all those extra
years, there’s sure to be a few new (to Ruby) wrinkles.
Similarly, there’s Lisp. Way older than Smalltalk again. What has
Lisp to contribute? Well, I read the other day about Rails’ new
method alias_method_chain at
And according to Jon Tirsen, who commented therein,
alias_method_chain is apparently very much like a Lispy technique
which is known as ‘around advice’ although I’m not sure how it gets
that name and haven’t encountered it myself.
Having written a bit of Lisp in my time and having declared it my fave
language, and now loving the Lispiness of my new fave language, Ruby,
I was wondering what could be got from it’s drawers too…
Although we don’t seem to be getting so much from Lispers, but perhaps
they’re more curmudgeonly old bastards than I am? Any heavy-duty old
Lispers out there?
So, anyone up for some rifling? By that I mean a vaguely organised
and much more proactive and unprincipled band of raiders go thieving
through every nook and cranny of Smalltalk’s (or Lisp’s) libraries; or
any other room of their houses…
“Bad artists copy. Great artists steal.” — Pablo Picasso