[Newbies] Re: Beginners Digest, Vol 68, Issue 3

David Corking lists at dcorking.com
Wed Dec 14 14:10:25 UTC 2011

Kirk wrote:

> Language popularity is a matter of advertising.    Nobody heard of Java
> until its creator advertised heavily claiming as the best language of
> all,

Perhaps Smalltalk needs a different approach to advertising. I don't
think many Smalltalkers believe that Smalltalk is the best of all. It
seems to me that there has always been a widespread and justified
belief that it will be a stepping stone to something better, such as
Self, Strongtalk, Newspeak, or something yet to be created by
researchers such as those at VPRI/STEPS, Potsdam, Berne and several
other enlightened places.

In a sense it is a victim of its own simplicity: of the ease of making
new class libraries and new compilers.

Java might have been sold as the best, but in reality it only had to
be better than C++ to stand a chance of winning.

In any case, Smalltalk has had some high profile advertising: by IBM,
then by Alan Kay for Squeak, and more recently by Alan again for
Croquet, and Randall for Seaside. I think that there is a law of
averages that says that even great products with great advertising
don't make it.

Even so, there is now a Smalltalk in the hands of each of two million
schoolchildren, through the Squeak Etoys and DrGeo II images on the
OLPC. Scratch is even more widespread: to the extent that it is a
killer application.

> The way out of that legacy in my opinion is projects like Blender 3D,
> maybe OpenOffice, and other killer applications

I agree: killer applications are better than advertising.

I also think that Python and Ruby's strategies of attracting
entrepreneurs and hackers are, in the long run, more rewarding than
Java's early successes in corporate sales.

It is not too late: Objective-C finally made it after a 25 year run
for the prize. So why not Smalltalk?

Can you develop your killer application proposal, please? Are you
suggesting a Squeak contribution to Blender, or a fork?


p.s. Kirk also wrote:

> Koans for learning Smalltalk on the other hand strikes me as another waste
> of time and books like the entire "patterns" movement.

Forgive me if my history is wrong, but wasn't the patterns movement a
joint venture of the Smalltalk and C++ communities? In any case,
"Koans" seems to a product of the agile movement, which began entirely
in Smalltalk. I intend to waste my time by reading it.

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