Smalltalk Considered Unfriendly

28 February, 2007

Unfriendly Squeak

Is it true that Smalltalk is too isolated and suffers from extreme shyness? Do we need to learn to play, reach out and integrate better with other languages and tools? Check out Alan Lovejoy‘s article: Smalltalk Considered Unfriendly

4 Responses to “Smalltalk Considered Unfriendly”

  1. It is sad to say but SmallTalk is too monolitic for the last ten years of Programming Language Evolution. The real missed point is: how is it easy to add stuff to a language? Perl, Ruby and Python have a very simple set of concepts build around the “module” word. Everyone can add stuff to these languages, and this stuff will work even with future release.
    All this three languages have a global repository, simple to use.
    SqueakMap is nice, but was harder to carry out, and still is far from perfect.

    In Smalltalk, migrating code from Squeak X.y to Squeak X. (y+1) is a pain, if you are based on other libraries. This is the big problem in my own opinion

  2. Joachim Says:


    you are referring to Squeak, where topics like the one you mention make life harder than in other Smalltalk implementations. The picture is quite different in the commercial Smalltalks: look at VA Smalltalk, VisualWorks or Dolphin. It is easy to create modules, frameworks or whatever you might want to call this stuff and it is easy to load it into an image.
    Where exactly do you see Smalltalk fall behind Ruby or Python wrt building / distributing modules?

  3. Jason Says:

    The essays would have been relevant 5 years ago, but now things are swinging back the monolithic way (e.g. every modern web framework has it’s own web server).

  4. Ralph Boland Says:

    As a linux/Squeak person one project I have wanted to do but never found the time is to build a Squeak based linux shell to use instead of bash/csh/sh. Let’s call this shell squash. Squash should more or less be able to replace these shells so that I could use Squash as my login shell.
    Also, I should be able to write a squash shell script
    functionally equivalent to a bash script or sh script.
    The difference is that a squash script should be squeak code or something close to it. In particular the squash shell
    should be a smalltalk running image and all standard code in a squeak image should be available.
    The one big drawback of squash is that while squash can
    run a bash script or sh script. Bash and sh would not
    be able to run a squash script since they not running a smalltalk image. (Starting a squeak image to run a squash script would be too slow I think.)
    The nice thing about a squash shell or shell script
    is that they would be portable across operating systems,
    dependent upon the contents of the scripts themselves of course.
    Then connection of all this to the “friendly Smalltalk issue” is that this would be one way of developing smalltalk friendly code. It certainly doesn’t solve all the problems but it helps.


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