Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? {Dr. Dobb's Journal (05/06/06) Chan, Jeremy}

Klaus D. Witzel klaus.witzel at
Wed May 10 18:44:24 UTC 2006

Jonah Group principal consultant Jeremy Chan cannot verify a resurgence in  
the use of the Smalltalk object-oriented language as indicated by Georg  
Heeg at the recent Smalltalk Solutions Conference, noting that none of his  
company's customer requests exhibit a desire for Smalltalk. Chan writes  
that Smalltalk's status as a OO language does not really provide an  
explanation of why it might be superior to other OO languages, and why,  
given such alleged superiority, it has been displaced by the likes of Java  
and C# as the most preferred language for enterprises in the last decade.  
"This is the essence of the Smalltalk Paradox," Chan says. The author  
reasons that developers may have difficulty relating Smalltalk's  
programming concepts, presented by defining the language's five principal  
vocabulary terms (object, message, class, instance, and method), to  
something else they already know. The vocabulary defines four rules of the  
language: All things are objects; all objects represent instances of some  
class; objects perform tasks by sending messages; and messages are  
deployed via methods. Chan attributes Smalltalk's lack of popularity to  
several factors, including the defensive posture Smalltalk developers  
assume when the language's superiority is questioned, and the absence of a  
major industry backer with the marketing muscle to facilitate Smalltalk's  
mainstream penetration. The author believes the Smalltalk community would  
receive a significant boost by attracting outsiders and discussing  



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