[Newbies] [semi-OT] (fwd) Re: What Killed Smalltalk?

Tim Johnson tjohnson at iwu.edu
Mon Nov 23 03:40:00 UTC 2009

Squeak by Example is a great place to start, and it is free.  After that, An Introduction to Seaside is very good.  The Design Patterns Smalltalk Companion puts now-commonplace concepts into context.  Chamond Liu's book is also very good.  Then for some polish, check Kent Beck's Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns.


-original message-
Subject: RE: [Newbies] [semi-OT] (fwd) Re: What Killed Smalltalk?
From: Christine Wolfe <cwdw01 at earthlink.net>
Date: 11/22/2009 9:31 PM

I agree 100%  It seems like most of the documentation is a tutorial or
example but not a straight forward explanation of how to use it.  Everything
ends up being trial and error.  I enjoy the language very much and would be
tempted to use it again but realistically a good comprehensive guide would
be great. Also, a nice document that describes each class and its methods
(beyond just the comments included in the class definite itself) would be a
huge help.

-----Original Message-----
From: beginners-bounces at lists.squeakfoundation.org
[mailto:beginners-bounces at lists.squeakfoundation.org] On Behalf Of Lawson
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2009 8:20 PM
To: A friendly place to get answers to even the most basic questions about
Subject: Re: [Newbies] [semi-OT] (fwd) Re: What Killed Smalltalk?

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
> 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 
middle ground.

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?

Beginners mailing list
Beginners at lists.squeakfoundation.org

Beginners mailing list
Beginners at lists.squeakfoundation.org

More information about the Beginners mailing list