[squeak-dev] Are Objects really hard?

Chris Cunnington smalltalktelevision at gmail.com
Sat Feb 11 21:31:34 UTC 2012

@Paul DeBruicker

"In the meantime, there was the need for a new kind of object oriented language that could be programmed by young children. 

I had been thinking about it, but was interrupted by a hallway bet about “how large  would a description of the world’s most powerful computer language be?” 
Having understood John McCarthy’s LISP by then, I said “Half a page!” They said “Prove it”. 

Two weeks later I had this for the kernel of a new kind of object-based language, using some of John’s techniques, but put in directly executable form. 
The kernel of Smalltalk. How small powerful “computer math” can be.

One month later my colleague Dan Ingalls had programmed this into one of our minicomputers and we suddenly
had a working, very high level, simple and powerful dynamic object language!"


Written by Alan Kay and from VPRI. 

Not surprisingly, Alan Kay had many objectives he wanted to achieve. Two are mentioned in the first sentence. The inciting 
incident is a bet. In the fifth sentence he says "a new kind of object-based language" was created. 

Note Bene: He does not say a new children's language was created. Under pressure from the bet, his priorities separated, and he created a 
new OO language. The impetus to use it to assist children in education reasserted itself later. 

The bet in question was not about a children's language. It was about the "most powerful computer language".  He uses the word
"power" in this passage three times and word "child" once. 

So there you have it, Paul. You just stood at the moment of creation. 

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