Sanssouci is a reimplementation of something like naked objects, which I always thought was way cool.

The basic idea behind Naked Objects is that you make the “objects” of your OO system into things that can be seen and manipulated directly by the user. This was one of the concepts behind the old Self project from Sun, whose GUI (“Morphic”) was appropriated for Squeak, but IMHO wasn’t as cool in Squeak because Squeak wasn’t a prototype-based system like Self, and wasn’t designed from the ground up with Morphic in mind.

Interfaces like this are cool because they allow the GUI to be a more direct path from the user to the underlying machine representation. Traditionally GUIs have put distance between user and machine, leading to the phenomenon which is the basis of Neal Stephenson’s int he beginning was the command line, where the GUI becomes a symbol of babying the user and giving him a distanced, artificial, unreal interaction with the machine, as opposed to the command line, which gives him a real, immediate connection to the machine. There’s no reason it has to be that way though, and things like Naked Objects move in the direction of making a more transparent GUI.

Sanssouci is the name of a palace built by the famous prussian king Friedrich II. (“The Great”) between 1745 and 1747 in Potsdam (near Berlin), Germany. The english translation from french “sans souci” is “no worries” or “no sorrow”. The palace was meant to be a peaceful place where the king could spend the summer season “without worries”.

We chose this name, because we as programmers don’t want to worry about writing GUI interfaces. Nobody really likes to do it and it is still difficult to maintain a good ease-of-learning and ease-of-use at the same time, while still providing maximum flexibility and functionality. Another reason for the naming: The user-interfaces generated by Sanssouci are really nice, just like the palace of the old prussian king!