An interesting view on social groups and their problems

Laurence Rozier laurence.rozier at
Sun Nov 11 22:36:32 UTC 2007

On Nov 11, 2007 11:48 AM, Jason Johnson <jason.johnson.081 at> wrote:

> On Nov 10, 2007 5:50 PM, Laurence Rozier <laurence.rozier at>
> wrote:
> >
> > A careful look at the history Java seems to indicate otherwise. Java
> didn't
> > replace C++ in the business world because C++ never got rooted there
> outside
> > of engineering and embedded apps.
> A careful look at every big business I have worked with says
> otherwise.

 The organization I'm at now is in fact half way into this
> transition from C++ to Java.  Granted my conclusions are based on a
> very small subset of the IT industry.

Ok and what time frame are you talking about? I'm looking at the time when
Java came into broader use because things were in a major state of flux then

>  I assume your conclusions come
> from the "Smalltalk Reloaded: Bits of History From the Golden Age"
> article?  Perhaps this was the case, but the fortune 500 orgs I've
> worked for all were doing C or C++ and slowly moving toward Java.

In the early 1990's as noted in this 1995 Software Magazine
corporate IT was making a transtion from mainframe to client-server
architectures. COBOL was the defacto development standard for business apps
but wasn't suited for this new "enterprise" paradigm. The C crowd that had
said thru the 80's objects weren't needed couldn't deliver so they claimed
to have joined the bandwagon with C++. However, C++not only didn't fare very
well on large projects or for rewriting COBAL apps and was clearly far too
difficult a transition for COBOL programmers. For a brief period, the
momentum had swung in Smalltalk's favor and most large new projects were
deploying with Smalltalk.

Nor was Java mentioned when Digitalk and ParcPlace merged later that
In fact, at the end of 1995, IBM which had only recently licensed Java was
still touting VisualAge over Java for the
At the time the Java Enterprise Edition Platform spec
announced in *1998,* none of the incompatible Smalltalk offerings from a
stagnant ParcPlace-Digitalk, an indifferent IBM, a research-oriented Squeak,
or single platform Object-Arts was really focused on delivering internet
aware solutions. Java and Ruby merely stepped in and filled a vacuum.
Smalltalk Reloaded: Marketing Isn't The

According to Squeak Central:

In December of 1995, the authors found themselves wanting a development
environment in which to build educational software that could be used—and
even programmed—by non-technical people, and by children. ... We considered
using Java but, despite its promise, Java was not yet mature: its libraries
were in a state of flux, few commercial implementations were available, and
those that were available lacked the hooks required to create the kind of
dynamic change that we envisioned. ...
Back To The Future<>

It's hard to say what would have happened in a world where Smalltalk
momentum was still rising, and the vacuum that a repurposed Java filled
never existed. I think a lot of people would gladly trade a Haskell-sized
niche for a ubiquitous Smalltalk based ecosystem like VisualAge where C++,
Java and others could play together nicely.

So when we're talking about reinventing the future, I for one would like to
get back to something that almost came to be - if was done once, it can be
done again.
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