Archive | October, 2012

Launching VisualWorks

23 Oct

Launching VisualWorks

There are multiple ways of starting your Smalltalk image, some you may not be aware of, but would find useful.  This is primarily for developers who have more than 1 version of VisualWorks installed on their system.   Configuration files make it easy to manage and run images from multiple versions.

The basic ways to start an image;

1)      The “Standard” way

2)      VisualWorks-1.15 (preview)

3)      Launchpad

 

1)      First the Standard way.

On Windows, .im extensions are associated with VisualWorks.exe.  The VisualWorks.ini file (found in the same directory as the .exe) contains the image signature, which identifies the version of the image and the full path and vm to run it.  Normally you edit the .ini file to reflect your installation.

So an entry might look like:

77 01 c:\Program Files\Cincom\vw7.7.1\bin\win\vwnt.exe

Launching a 64 bit image is accommodated too:

79 128 c:\Program Files (x86)\Cincom\vw7.9\bin\win64\vwnt.exe

You provide an entry for each version of VisualWorks installed, or even an entry for each version of image you may be using.  You can usually use newer VM’s on older images within the major family.

2)      VisualWorks-1.15

This variant can be found in the preview/bin directory on Windows platforms.  This is especially useful if you are a VWDev participant and need to distinguish between versions at a finer granularity.  Note that you can find the VisualWorks-1.15 functionality on OSX & Unix platforms as VisualWorks.sh in the preview/bin directory

The differences are:

  • A more detailed signature
  • Specification of the home directory as well as the correct VM

(the second parameter after the “?” is used to set the VISUALWORKS variable)

An entry in this ini file looks like: (each entry all on one line)

79 0 0 0 C:\Program Files (x86)\Cincom\vw7.9\bin\win\visual.exe?C:\Program Files (x86)\Cincom\vw7.9

 

79 128 0 0 C:\Program Files (x86)\Cincom\vw7.9\bin\win64\visual.exe?C:\Program Files (x86)\Cincom\vw7.9

 

The last two numbers in the signature are used in identifying interim builds, as in the weekly builds in the developer program.  So some recent build entries I have looks like this:

79 0 20 4 S:\Cincom\vw7.10\bin\win\visual.exe?S:\Cincom\vw7.10

79 128 21 4 S:\Cincom\vw7.10\bin\win64\visual.exe?S:\Cincom\vw7.10

79 0 04 4 S:\Cincom\vw7.9.1\bin\win\visual.exe?S:\Cincom\vw7.9.1

79 129 04 4 S:\Cincom\vw7.9.1\bin\win64\visual.exe?S:\Cincom\vw7.9.1

This is useful for making sure you are running the exact new vm along with the development build. This is what I am using currently for testing our weekly development builds.

 

3)      A third way to start an image is with the VisualWorks Launchpad.  The Launchpad is a very useful application that lets you create and name images (32 or 64 bit), and also store them in the proper manner on Windows and OSX (a directory in a read-write area).  The icon to start the Launchpad gets installed on your desktop, so it is easy to find, and it makes it simple to find and create new images.  The Launchpad will evolve to be even more useful for configuring and creating images.  The Launchpad also has a configuration file, and is rather capable, flexible and configurable.  A development engineer is working on an article describing this, so I will not delve into it here.

 

I hope this article gave you some ideas on how to more effectively start and use VisualWorks.  Questions?  Please send them to me at: athomas@cincom.com

Regards

Arden Thomas

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