Today is the official launch of a campaign to promote the use of Smalltalk (and Amber) in the modern age of software development, especially as it relates to the Web. In our highly connected world, web technologies are absolutely central to the economic growth and social evolution of our society.
Smalltalk is a pioneer in programming language development. Constructed in the 1970s by those clever folks at Xerox PARC in California, Smalltalk was the first major OOP language, and still widely regarded as the best. Over the past four decades, it has been highly influential in the design of other important languages, such as Objective-C, Ruby, Groovy, Scala, and Dart. Today, Smalltalk is still used to write industrial and financial applications (rather like a secret weapon that confers a competitive advantage). It is alive and well, particularly in the Pharo incarnation, and it is emerging as a contender in client-side web development with the creation of Amber.
The beauty of Smalltalk lies in its simplicity and elegance, as well as its novel concept of a “live” development environment, where every object is active and you can examine it and change it at will. Ironically, this “novel” concept was created more than four decades ago! As a result, Smalltalk is eminently readable, almost like English, but it still manages to be succinct.
Smalltalk is prized for its development power and extraordinary productivity. The word “productive” is vastly overused and bandied about by nearly every new programming language that arrives on the scene today. However, Smalltalk has a long history to show definitively that a simple and expressive language, combined with an innovative approach to the IDE, can pay enormous dividends in academia and in the commercial enterprise.