Most of the slides from the presentations at this year’s Smalltalk Solutions conference are now on line.

The material available includes Gilad Bracha’s talk on Newspeak, James Foster’s guide to building a Seaside application using GemStone/S, Michael Rueger’s introduction to Sophie, Arden Thomas demonstrating WebVelocity in action, and Randal Schwartz’s double-header keynote: Seaside – Your Next Web Framework and an introduction to persistency solutions for use with Seaside.  

There are also slides from a couple of sessions looking at the reasons for the recent resurgence of interest in Smalltalk: Arden Thomas looks at the features of Smalltalk that other languages lack, and Rob Rothwell explains how Smalltalk helps with the development of healthcare applications.

There are many more slide-packs available, and still more to be added, so please check out the conference page for more information. James Robertson is adding video and audio as it becomes available.

Avi Bryant joined Gemstone’s Bob Walker at RailsConf last week for a presentation (summarised here) describing MagLev, a Ruby VM built on the same technology as Gemstone/S, offering transparent persistence, and so the possibility of massive scalability, to Ruby applications. Despite only being under development for three months, with the initial focus being on scalability rather than speed, MagLev is already able to run Ruby code at speeds comparable or better than established Ruby implementations, with orders of magnitude improvements in some cases.

The presentation caused lots of excitement at the conference, and has sparked lots of heated debate within the Ruby development community with some very different views of MagLev from Charles NutterGiles Bowkett,  Obie Fernandez, and Antonio Cangiano, as well as an article at Slashdot and posts all over Reddit.  Avi has a blog-post addressing some of the discussion, as does Patrick Collison.

For Smalltalkers, one particularly interesting feature of MagLev, from an interview with Bob Walker by InfoQ, is that it retains the ability to execute Smalltalk code as well as Ruby, and should support image-based development.

[Edit: Chad Fowler had access to MagLev well before the presentation, and so offers a more considered assessment of it]

ESUG, the organisers of the 16th International Smalltalk Joint Conference, to be held 25-29 August 2008 in Amsterdam, have issued a call for contributions. Submissions are to be made by 1st June 2008, with notification of acceptance on 15th June 2008.

About the Conference

For the past 16 years, the European Smalltalk User Group (ESUG) has organised the International Smalltalk Conference, a lively forum on cutting edge software technologies that attract people from both academia and industry for a whole week. The attendees are both engineers using Smalltalk in business and students and teachers using Smalltalk both for research and didactic purposes.
As every year, this year’s edition of the largest European Smalltalk event will include the regular Smalltalk developers conference with renowned invited speakers, a Smalltalk camp that proves fruitful for interactions and discussions. This year’s conference will also see the 4th year of the Innovation Technology Awards, where prizes will be awarded to authors of best pieces of Smalltalk-related projects.

The conference features the following events:

  • Camp Smalltalk – There will be a Smalltalk camp on 23-24 August
  • Developers Forum
  • Technology Forum

Developers Forum
This year we are looking for your experience with using Smalltalk. The list of topics includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • XP practices
  • Development tools
  • Experience reports
  • Model driven development
  • Web development
  • Team management
  • Meta-Modelling
  • Security
  • New libraries & frameworks
  • Educational material
  • Embedded systems and robotics
  • SOA and Web services
  • Interaction with other programming languages

Technology Forum
We are proud to announce the 4th Innovation Technology Awards. The top 3 teams with the most innovative software will receive, respectively, €500, €300 and €200 during an awards ceremony at the conference. Developers of any Smalltalk-based software are welcome to compete.

Student Volunteer Program
If you are a student wanting to attend ESUG, have you considered being a student volunteer? Student volunteers help keep the conference running smoothly; in return, they have free accommodations, while still having most of the time to enjoy the conference.

We hope to see you there and have fun together.

Randal L. Schwartz had a “standing-room only” audience at BarCampPortland for his presentation on why web developers should consider using the Seaside web application framework. BarCampPortland is described as an “unconference for the Portland [Oregon] tech community”, and aims to offer the attendees interesting topics, cool people and great networking opportunities.

Randal was offered a 45-minute slot, and took the opportunity to explain what makes Seaside such a powerful framework for professional web developers. His material, which incorporated feedback from colleagues on the Seaside mailing list, was very well received, and will form the basis for future presentations by Randal to raise the awareness of Seaside in the web development community.

The video has now been posted of Gilad Bracha‘s talk on Newspeak that we mentioned last month. Newspeak is a new dynamic language being developed at Cadence, and is descended from Smalltalk and Self, with influences from E, Scala and Scheme, exploring ideas around combinatorial parsing, strict message-passing, reflectivity, capability-based security and actor-style concurrency.

Newspeak is being developed on top of Squeak, and the presentation makes a number of direct comparisons with Squeak, especially when discussing UI matters such as the Newspeak widget framework, application framework and Class Browser, and how they’ve improved on Squeak’s access to the operating system with a new FFI framework.

The roadmap for the future development of Newspeak is also laid out, including a discussion of when/whether the code will be published.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, see this thread for help).

[Edit – Gilad Bracha has a fascinating blog that records his ongoing development of Newspeak.]

The Year of Smalltalk

2 April, 2008

The Year of Smalltalk

Randal L. Schwartz just announced that he will be giving a 3 hour tour of Seaside at OSCON 2008. We are very proud to have Randal on the Squeak Foundation Board. We are looking forward to more of his “Year of Smalltalk“.

[Edit: corrected spelling]

Dan Ingalls gave an interesting Tech Talk on the Lively kernel (best viewed in Safari 3 apparently) at Google a few weeks ago – what better way to (re)introduce our new board member?