Modtalk Experience Report

Contact Information
John Sarkela

Modtalk is an experimental environment for developing modular Smalltalk programs.

Modtalk is intended as an environment in which students may experiment with dynamic language implementation, optimization, and runtimes. The code is covered by the MIT license and will be open to the community at large when it has become more stable.

The ANSI Smalltalk declarative specification of a program was used as a starting point.  Namespaces were added in conformance with a proposal presented by Allen Wirfs-Brock at the OOPSLA ’96 Extending Smalltalk Workshop. Unlike the implementation of namespaces in VisualWorks, the syntax of Smalltalk is unchanged, and resolution of name bindings is a compile time rather than runtime activity.

The initial implementation of the environment is hosted in a Pharo image. Source code for programs is managed in Git based repositories using FSGit as implemented by Camillo Bruni, Dale Heinrichs, and Max Leske.

The Modtalk system is designed to support multiple runtime targets. The initial implementation will compile to a private namespace of objects inside the development image. Future research will target compilation to byte coded interpreters and native code compilers.