Navigation:  »No topics above this level«

Glossary of Terms

Previous pageReturn to chapter overview

ANSI standard

ANSI X3J20 Standard for Smalltalk.

Chunk Format

A text file format that can be used to save Smalltalk class and method definitions so that they can be ported between images or different Smalltalk implementations. The file is broken up into so-called "chunks" that are delimited by ! characters.

Class Browser

The Class Browser allows you to browse through the classes and their associated methods that are installed in your image. This is the normally the place where do most of your programming in Dolphin. Click here for more details.

Class Hierarchy Diagram

The Class Diagram provides a graphical overview of the Dolphin class hierarchy. Click here for more details.


The Debugger allow you to step through Smalltalk code and examine the state of the process associated with it. Click here for more details

Default Package

A package that has being chosen to be the default owner of all newly created packages when working in the Class or System Browsers. Click here for more details.

Dolphin Package

The base system package. This contains the fundamental classes in the image and it cannot be uninstalled. It is also not possible to export the contents of this package to disk as a PAC or PAX file. You can, however, version it as part of a Source Tracking System repository.

Dolphin Smalltalk (Fresh Install) Icon

A shortcut icon installed in the Dolphin Smalltalk program group that can be used to start Dolphin for the first time or to reinstall a fresh copy over an existing, possibly corrupt, installation.


DolphinSure is digital signature mechanism for Dolphin objects. Used by Smalltalk WebStart to validate applets after they have been transferred across an insecure medium such as the Internet. Click here for more details.

Event Protocol

A contract indicating that an object is required to trigger a particular set of events. Event protocols are particularly relevant for MVP when deciding which views can successfully work with which models.


A process where an object will be notified if its impending demise just prior to its being garbage collected. Click here for more details.


An object that is held by the Smalltalk dictionary. Most classes are globals, as are most pool dictionaries. It is not normally necessary for an application to create many (or, indeed, any) additional globals apart from the classes of which it is comprised. Instead, it is usually considered better practice to use Class Variables to hold an application's global data.


The image is the place where all of your Smalltalk objects reside. Often this term is used to refer to your work file (with .IMG suffix) which contains the saved state of your development environment. It can, however, also be used to refer to the state of your objects when they are loaded into memory while Dolphin is running.

Image Stripper

An object responsible for removing unwanted packages, classes and methods from an image prior to its deployment as an executable. The stripping process is the means by which large image files can be exported as relatively small EXEs. Generally, an image stripper will be configured using the Lagoon Wizard.


An Inspector allows you to examine the structure and contents of any object in detail. Click here for more details.

Lagoon Deployment Wizard

A wizard style interface that allows you to configure the various settings for an Image Stripper prior to deployment of a Dolphin application. Click here for more details.

Live Update

Dolphin Live Update is a facility for of obtaining the latest updates for your Dolphin Smalltalk product. These are downloaded in the form of Patch Levels for automatic installation into your Dolphin image. Click here for more details.


An acronym for Model View Presenter.


A Dolphin Smalltalk package file. PAC files contain the entire contents of a package. They are text files in Chunk Format. Click here for more details.

Package Browser

The Dolphin tool that allows you to browse the packages installed in your image. Click here for more details.


A Dolphin Smalltalk binary package file. PAK files contain the contents of the package in binary format. These can be transferred and loaded into another image without need for the Dolphin compiler. Binary packages are the primary transport mechanism used by Dolphin Web Start applets.

Patch Levels

Minor updates to Dolphin are made available as patch files which can be automatically downloaded by the Live Update facility. As each patch file is installed your image will be brought up to a particular patch level. You can tell the current patch level of your system from the Help/About box.


A Dolphin Smalltalk source package file. PAX files contain the master definition of a package but not its contents. These are saved separately in a number of source files that are suitable for checking into an external Source Code Control System. The PAX files are in Chunk Format.

Protocol Browser

This tool allows you to browse the message protocols available in your image. Click here for more details.

View Resources

User interface objects that are handled by the View Browser. In the current system the only type of resource available is a view resource. A view resource is created using the View Composer.

Smalltalk Dictionary

An instance of SystemDictionary that holds all the global objects in the image. Most of the globals are classes or pool dictionaries. You can inspect the contents of the Smalltalk dictionary by evaluating:

Smalltalk inspect.

Source Code Control System (SCCS)

An external management system for source code files. The source management facilities in Dolphin allow for packages to be exported from an image and saved to disk as a number of separate source files. These can be put under the control of a source code control system so that changes made over time, or by multiple developers, can be tracked in a central repository. Dolphin can be used successfully in conjunction with a number of file based source code systems such as Microsoft SourceSafe and WinCVS.

Note that Dolphin Professional has a sophisticated method-level Source Tracking System built-in, thus alleviating the need to use an external SCCS in most situations.


A Dolphin Smalltalk Binary object format. STB files are created using the STB streaming mechanism (STBOutFiler, STBInFiler etc.) and are a means by which object instances can be exported from an image such that they can be transported and reloaded elsewhere. Using STB, objects can be easily streamed to files or to byte arrays.

Source Tracking System (STS)

Only Available in Dolphin Professional


A full, multi-user, method level repository for storing past editions of your Smalltalk source code. For those of you who have experience of it, STS is very much like the ENVY product that has been available for other Smalltalk environments in the past

System Folder

The entry point to the Dolphin Smalltalk environment. From here you can invoke other tools that you will use during development. Click here for more details.

Uncommitted Classes

Classes that have not yet been assigned to any Package. By default, new classes created in the Class and System Browsers are initially uncommitted. It is possible, however, to set a Default Package where new classes will be created.

Uncommitted Globals

Globals that have not yet been assigned to any Package. By default, new globals created by adding then to the Smalltalk dictionary are initially uncommitted. .

User Preferences

A Published Aspect Inspector that allows you to browse various system options for the development environment. It is available from the System Folder.

View Composer

The visual tool that allows you to create user interface designs for an MVP application. These user interfaces are known as views. Click here for more details.


A message box that indicates when an error has occurred with Dolphin. This will usually occur as the result of a problem in some code that you have written. Such errors are rarely fatal and you can opt to terminate the Smalltalk process that caused the error or to use the Debugger to isolate the problem.


A place where you can type and evaluate pieces of Smalltalk code. Click here for more details.

Workspace Variables

Temporary variables held by a workspace that can be used to contain the intermediate results of Smalltalk expressions. A workspace variable is automatically created whenever you evaluate an assignment in a workspace to a variable name starting with a lowercase letter. Click here for more details


A zombie is a hidden view object in your image that, for some reason, never correctly became associated with a visible window. Typically this may happen if an error occurs when opening a view onto one of your own applications or one of the development tools. Zombies often keep alive large chains of objects preventing them from being garbage collected.