[Newbies] [semi-OT] (fwd) Re: What Killed Smalltalk?
lenglish5 at cox.net
Mon Nov 23 01:19:42 UTC 2009
Steve Wessels wrote:
> That's right. Smalltalk hasn't died. I am fortunate enough to be part of a team developing financial software for many years using Smalltalk.
> People have predicted Smalltalk's death about as often as Apple's death.
> I think comparisons between Smalltalk and Java have to take marketing into account.
> Paying Smalltalk work is harder to find. Here's an interesting twist. Companies looking for skilled Object Oriented developers, if they understand what they need, will seek programmers with Smalltalk experience.
Speaking as a long-term script kiddie who likes to collect languages, I
can tell you that the main reason(s) why *I* find Smalltalk difficult to
use involve(s): lack of documentation, lack of well-documented example
code, lack of compsci teaching materials written with Smalltalk for the
example code, etc. Notice a trend?
Smalltalk may have been designed to be easy to learn and use, but it has
never been adopted by the pedagogical community of teachers and how-to
book-writers, so naturally new programmers (from whom experienced
programmers grow) are never attracted to it.
The main issue is lack of ways for new programmers (experienced in other
languages or otherwise) to learn not just the syntax of the language,
but how to DO stuff with it.
E.G.: I can't grab the Unix Programming or Unix Network Programming
books by Stevens and work through Smalltalk equivalents of the example
code. There's no Data Structures in Smalltalk books, nor Algorithm
Analysis in Smalltalk books, nor build your own virtual world from
scratch using Smalltalk and OpenGL, or Game AI in Smalltalk, or... There
IS a Numerical Methods book in Smalltalk, but that's hardly
beginner/intermediate level, IMHO.
You get the idea. All the reference material for Smalltalk is geared for
complete beginners, or for people who are exceedingly experienced. No
And some of the most interesting (sounding) aspects of Smalltalk, such
as the Teatime architecture, are hardly covered in ways that relative
newcomers can understand (speaking as a relative newcomer with a 2 year
AAS degree and a couple decades intermittent experience programming).
Smalltalk (e.g. Squeak) may not be fast enough to be used in high-end
production implementations, but surely it could be the
language-of-choice for learning new aspects of compsci and programming.
After all, many of these "new aspects" of compsci and programming were
originally developed/matured using Smalltalk. Why should people have to
go to a less versatile language in order to actually learn to use the
results of Smalltalk-based research?
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