[squeak-dev] Re: Renaming "Squeak"

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Wed Mar 5 23:47:56 UTC 2008

Andrew Tween wrote:
> These assignment discussions are most amusing, and I am sure will remain so 
> for many years to come ;)

Since you enjoy them, I will add a few comments. The change from left
arrow to underscore was done when moving from the draft ASCII standard
(1963) to the final one (1968). Unfortunately even in the early 1980s
there was still a lot of equipment being sold compatible with the draft
version. This was particularly true on anything from DEC or Xerox. So it
was natural that Smalltalk-80's notion of ASCII matched Xerox's.

When Digitalk released their first product in 1985 they introduced the
ideas of ":=" for assignment. Though the PC did have a left arrow
character, it used the exact same code as ESC and that would have caused
a lot of confusion. In addition they were trying really hard to sell to
Pascal programmers (C was not yet as popular at that time) with nearly
all examples in their very nice manual including the Pascal version
beside the Smalltalk one. Given the changes they had made they decided
to call their product "Methods". By their second product they had
cleared things up with Xerox and so it was caleld "Smalltalk V". This
one was graphical and could have used anything they wanted for
assignment, but they kept the ":=" for compatibility with their previous

Of course, there is nothing wrong in letting stuff from Pascal (or C)
creep into Smalltalk. The colon before block argument names, for
example, came unchanged from Logo. But neither do I mind being

-- Jecel

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