So could we finally pull away the curtain and show how VisualAge is really Smalltalk underneath, kill off Java except as legacy callable libraries, and get back to working in Smalltalk like we were doing in 1995?
An amazing amount about IBM can be explained by the Java/Smalltalk schism that took place almost 15 years ago, though internally you'd think it happened just last week.
I programmed once in a derivative of Smalltalk called RPL, and I absolutely loved it after I learned how to do conditionals and counted loops using the Smalltalk syntax.Smalltalk had two causes of failure:
- It never beat Microsoft at price/performance on development tools. They tried the Unix pricing formula (thousands per seat) instead of the Windows formula (hundreds per seat). Not a good way to win the loyalty of programming shops. The productivity gains of Smalltalk only work with star programmers, not average ones, and therefore don't justify a Unix pricing model.
- Smalltalk did not have an imperative C-like syntax for conditionals, counted loops, etc. That made it too hard for most programmers. Matz did not go this route with Ruby, and Ruby is doing quite well. The predecessor of Java was called "Oak", and it was much more like Smalltalk. However, Sun had the good sense to make the language look more like C in order to attract more developers.
At some point, the masters of the JVM will introduce support for closures/blocks and pave the way to support languages such as Ruby and Smalltalk to compile directly down to JVM bytecodes. .Net 3.5 has already done this, so JVM could not be far behind. Once that happens, I'm sure many enterprise shops will start accepting other JVM languages into their development toolchains.
Posted by Jay Godse on 2009-04-06
Posted by mike on 2009-04-06
Posted by Neal Gafter on 2009-04-06
Posted by Dave on 2009-04-05