No Pain, No Gain?

After a bit of poking around, I’ve started the job of ramping up the code base at TAF to the new release of VA Smalltalk, recently announced at ESUG 2011. While there’s lots to admire about this release, a couple of things have almost stopped my upgrade efforts in their tracks.

I was actually looking forward to the deprecation support, until it bit me in the posterior. In their “wisdom”, Instantiations decided to deprecate EmSystemConfiguration>>#vaVersion, which has long been the preferred way of identifying the version of VA Smalltalk, in favour of EmSystemConfiguration>>#imageVersion. This, in itself, would have been all right, except that the deprecation implementation is broken, such that an exception is raised regardless of any tolerance settings. At the very least, this makes the config map browser impossible to use.

The other problem I’ve encountered is more subtle. You might recall from an earlier series of posts that I’ve automated the building of images based on a virgin distribution image, some code, command line parameters and Jenkins. Sadly, there’s been some change in 8.5 that breaks this. Something goes seriously wrong during processing of the abt.cnf file, leaving one with a walkback. The workaround is to start a virgin image, let it cache to the correct repository, reset the image owner, and then save and exit the image. This new image should be used as the basis of future automated builds. It also allows for the opportunity to load a fix for the broken deprecation implementation.

I dislike having to take this approach – it leads back to the “magic build image” situation that I’ve been trying to avoid all the way along, but, so far, I’m defeated…


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