Why I Still Use Smalltalk

Stephen Travis Pope
FASTLab
220 Santa Anita Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Tel: (805) 895-6252
stephen@FASTLabInc.com

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The Smalltalk-80 programming system is celebrating its 30th birthday this year; Smalltalk-80 version 2 was released and documented in a series of books in 1982. The system was the first popular software development tool that incorporated a number of features we take for granted today, including an object-oriented programming language, a comprehensive open-source class library, an integrated window-based development environment, and a cross-platform virtual-machine-based delivery system.

This talk will outline the requirements for software development environments, introduce the Smalltalk language, libraries and tools, and then contrast them with other languages in current use. Several aspects of the Smalltalk system make it especially good for developing multimedia applications, and these will be introduced and compared to the multimedia support in other development systems. The talk will end with a manifesto of what developers should expect of their languages, libraries and tools. There are many references to the literature on advanced programming languages and development environments, and to the historical Smalltalk publications.