A journey ‘Back to Smalltalk’

I read a blog post about a developers journey from Smalltalk to PHP to Ruby and back with probably a bunch of other stuff mixed in between. In this post, the author puts into words many of the things I have wondered about for the last several months. I am by no means a Ruby or Ruby-on-Rails expert, but I have messed with it enough. I do like it. Its nice and clean, simple to use, and easy to get up and running quickly.

I remember my transition from Smalltalk to Java. When I had somewhat mastered Smalltalk Java started to become the big thing. For some reason I felt the need to move to Java. It was the buzz and ‘everyone was doing it’. My company at the time started a major project using Java so I fought to be a part of it. Once I felt like I had somewhat mastered Java I wished it was more like Smalltalk. Don’t get me wrong, I like Java. Its really just a different paradigm and I think both have their place in software development. Recently the RoR stuff got me excited and I started looking into it. As I said above, I like Ruby/RoR, but I still thought Smalltalk was better at many things. I just haven’t gotten excited enought about Ruby/RoR to jump into it very deep.

So this blog post comes along and introduces me to Seaside, a ‘framework for developing sophisticated web applications in Smalltalk’. I HAVE to look into it – long gone are the days of the VisualAge for Smalltalk web crud (to be fair, it was good for the time). Will it mean a renaissance for Smalltalk? Probably not. Its time may have past – especially with the newest generation of programmers seeing Ruby/RoR as the most elegant OO solution. But it is worth a look. And if its the right tool for the job, its going in my toolbox.

Anyway, the original blog post is a great post detailing a lot of the opinion that I bet many ‘old Smalltalkers’ have of the programming landscape today as it pertains to Ruby and RoR. Check it out.

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Posted in code, java, Smalltalk
2 comments on “A journey ‘Back to Smalltalk’
  1. klhenry97 says:

    Smalltalk rules.

    Yeah, I know, lousy comment. But for the time in my life that I first encountered it, it was the perfect language. I fought to escape COBOL, and when I sat down to do my “hello world” in Smalltalk, I instantly got it. I didn’t know what object-oriented programming was. I just learned Smalltalk, and object-oriented was an afterthought. Java was a disappointment, but I had to go there. I found that Smalltalk is the perfect foundation. It should be used in Programming 101 in every programmer mill in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. That and the GoF book.

  2. Mike Witters says:

    I absolutely agree. The pure object oriented nature of Smalltalk is, at minimum, what should be illustrated in every OO class. Smalltalk is a beautiful language. Unfortunately it just didn’t do what was necessary to stay mainstream. Seaside might help, but its no leap from what I’ve seen.

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