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

Waldemar Dick sourceforge at
Fri May 12 18:30:47 UTC 2006

I'm a Smalltalk newbie and just want to drop my 2 cents to this
discussion and maybe vent my frustration a little. Please don't take
it anyone personal.

Hernan Wilkinson schrieb:
>    I think the problem with Smalltalk is not technical, nor a problem 
> of education either. We all now that Smalltalk has nothing to envy 
> from Java, C++, .Net and the like, but the other way around.
> We all know that Smalltalk has a great VM, has a great environment and 
> tools and no other main stream language can compete with Smalltalk on 
> this features.
>    The problem with Smalltalk is a MARKETING problem, no technical. 
Sorry, but I don't agree with you. And I will tell you why.

It depends what you mean by "Smalltalk". If you just mean the language 
by itself, then you are right,
no other main stream language can compete with Smalltalk

If you mean the hole environment, then I can't agree with you.
One thing Java and .Net have in common, C++ is trying to get and 
Smalltalk is missing, is a standard
library set. Every dialect of Smalltalk has its own set.
The languages mentioned above, offer a huge choice in libraries. 
Smalltalk offers also
quite a good choice in libraries, but scattered to different dialects.
Which makes finding all needed libraries for a project quite difficult, 
porting libraries to the preferred dialect.
Porting Libraries is not a beginners task and actually all the "speedup" 
I gain
by using Smalltalk is in vain if I can't reuse a library.

I don't believe marketing is the main problem, because almost all 
I know, know what Smalltalk is. So, they had contact with  the product, 
somehow, but they didn't buy it.

> So, the problem with Smalltalk is that it is OLD. 
The only problem with "OLD" is, if you are looking for documentation and
find something form like 1996, I always think: this can't be up to date.
I learned that is doesn't count for the language itself. But if it is some
library, it it ether really stable or abandoned.

I think the hole Smalltalk community is bigger than it
appears to be, but sadly scattered and wasting their energy
reimplementing problems solved in different dialects.

I found in some archives someone bitching about Cincom reimplementing
the Java Servlets API for their Visualworks WebToolKit. Sure the API  is no
way Smalltalk style, but the idea itself is brilliant. I, as a Java 
programmer, felt
immediately at home and comfortable. Though is was a known API to me,
it felt much easier to use, because of all the advantages of Smalltalk.
This left a deep impression. And there is the brilliance of this idea:
Combining something known with something as elegant as Smalltalk,
is quite attractive.
Sadly, I came pretty fast to the described library problem. I couldn't find
a library to write JPEG images. I know Squeak has one, but it doesn't
have the WebToolKit and porting is beyond my abilities.
The same goes for databases, etc., etc.

So, here I am, trying to decide which dialect I should use,
if any.

Thank you for reading.


Waldemar Dick

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