Newbie questions (advocacy included)

goran.hultgren at goran.hultgren at
Fri Apr 12 12:37:26 UTC 2002

Bijan Parsia <bparsia at> wrote:
> > > How does Squeak compare to commercial Smalltalks?  I've been kind of out 
> > 
> > It compares very good:
> > - Cross platform capability second to none.
> > - Very good multimedia support, probably second to none.
> > - Very good development tools/environment. Might lack a few things like
> > extensive support for team development (most development in the Squeak
> > community is done individually I think).
> > - Good performance. If you benchmark Squeak it might look "slow" (but
> > not worse than many commercial Smalltalks like Dolphin)
> Be careful...Dolphin may lack a JIT but *man* it can be *really* fast in
> places where Squeak is rather slow. I remember dorking around with things
> like #at:/#at:put: and getting some quite stunning results from

I agree - it was not meant as a general remark about Dolphin. I can
though safely
say that some things are the same speed in Squeak and Dolphin - that was
what I saw
in a few silly tests.

> Dolphin. Dolphin's transcript is also much much faster. In general,
> Dolphin's interface is very nippy and smooth.

That is surely a biproduct from using the native Win32 API for UI. I

> Not that this detracts from Squeak, of course.
> Squeak has also fared well agains Python, though, as usual, these are
> shifting targets.
> The best way to put it, IMHO, is Squeak is quite fast enough for a wide
> range of people on a wide range of hardware for a wide range of systems.
> Another, decent, way to put it is that there's still plenty of speed left
> to be wrung out of the system :)

Yes, and Squeak has a nice balance of speed vs. portability. This
combined with
the Slang possibilities (Newbienote: Slang is a special lowlevel subset
of Smalltalk that can be used to
write highperformance low level code and get it compiled and loaded as a
plugin. The VM itself
is written in this and many other things that could be performance
bottlenecks.) makes
Squeak perform very nice when viewed altogether I think.

And the VM guys keep cranking out new tweaks all day that makes it go
even faster.
It will be interesting to do some benchmarking after the new BC VM has
landed officially.

> [snip]
> > > of the loop for a while, but I kind of figured that Smalltalk was on the 
> > > decline when ParcPlace and Digitalk merged then were bought(?) by Cincom.  
> > 
> > Cincom is probably good for Smalltalk.
> Unquestionably. Not only did they save Visualworks, but they've hired lots
> of Big Names in the Smalltalk community to improve it. VisualWorks has
> been in the process of transforming itself into something quite stunning
> over the last year. They also contribute *lots* to the general smalltalk
> community, including sponsering events (like camp Smalltalk 2), releasing
> code (like their XML parser), and general Good Works. Yay Cincom!
> > They seem to be much more in
> > touch with reality than... well. Enough said. I just hope they make
> > money on the Smalltalk side.
> From what I understand, they do.

Good. Very good. I attended their evening at OOPSLA and it sounded very
Perhaps I sould download a copy and have a look - it was a long time

> Cheers,
> Bijan Parsia.

Cheers, Göran

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