[Newbies] Speed

David Mitchell david.mitchell at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 15:30:06 UTC 2009

On Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 7:37 PM, John Worden <worden.john at gmail.com> wrote:
> I came to Squeak/Smalltalk and started having a play.  There is something addictive about it but at the same time there are things like the speed issue above that don't make it "easy" for the learner.  As an exercise I started to convert the excellent Cincom VW Tutorial to work in Squeak and at the same time I was converting it into Python.  End result is that I had less difficulty getting it to work in Python than simply converting to Squeak.  I wasn't expecting that. (For interest the other big problem I had, in addition to the speed one, was with the CrLf handling)
> I am not trying to compare one language to another.  Neither is it a judgement call on whats right or wrong all have their fit I'm sure. My question is whether people feel Squeak really is suitable for someone who just enjoys scripting simple programs?  I can see the value in it from an educational perspective but for someone like me (who to be honest doesn't even want to worry about what things like UTF8 Support are all about) is it a good choice?

Squeak (and Smalltalk in general) is unusual as a dynamic language in
that it doesn't come from a tradition of scripting. A lot of effort
goes into making the Smalltalk world complete and less work goes into
integrating with the outside world. That doesn't mean you can't do
scripting in Squeak, but you may not find many people who've gone down
that path.

If I wanted to do a lot of scripting in a Smalltalk, I'd look at GNU
Smalltalk. When I downloaded the source to build the book Squeak by
Example, it was interesting to note that the build process was
controlled by a GNU Smalltalk script (and that script was originally
written in Ruby). The reason that is interesting is some experts
(while writing a book on Squeak) chose a different Smalltalk to do
their scripting. No value judgment, just an observation.

That said, I've used Squeak for scripting and had a lot of fun doing
it. Here is a message from the archive with more info on the


Of course, if you already know how to code in Python, and you are
doing something like file and text processing, Squeak may come up
short. Or, you may get addicted to Smalltalk and it will ruin you for
other languages/environments. As Andy Bower said,

"Smalltalk is dangerous. It is a drug. My advice to you would be don't try it."

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