[Vista:Smalltalk] On Alan Kay: It's *ALL* About Messaging

by M. David Peterson

So I've been watching pfisk's external Vista SmallTalk project like a hawk. As made obvious by my last post (to my Windows DevCenter blog), I've been head down for the last while, and just now getting caught up on my list of MUST READ's. In doing so, I came across this recent post from pfisk,

The Big Idea � Microsoft .Net and the Smalltalk Language

I recently came across an original quote from Alan Kay where he discusses the "big idea" behind Smalltalk:

Smalltalk is not only NOT its syntax or the class library,
it is not even about classes. I'm sorry that I long ago
coined the term "objects" for this topic because it gets
many people to focus on the lesser idea.

The big idea is "messaging" -- that is what the kernal of
Smalltalk/Squeak is all about (and it's something that was
never quite completed in our Xerox PARC phase). The Japanese
have a small word -- ma -- for "that which is in between"
-- perhaps the nearest English equivalent is "interstitial".

The key in making great and growable systems is much more to
design how its modules communicate rather than what their internal
properties and behaviors should be.

Think of the internet -- to live, it
(a) has to allow many different kinds of ideas and realizations
that are beyond any single standard and
(b) to allow varying degrees of safe interoperability between
these ideas.

The full message from Alan Kay is here.

The guiding philosophy of Vista Smalltalk is to be a flexible tool for building applications from both local and remote components - the language syntax is only a part of the story.

Two things:


2007-01-04 10:47:51
Gotta learn how to spell it, buddy...it's "Smalltalk".
M. David Peterson
2007-01-04 22:19:35

Hmmm... I believe it is spelled correctly, though I do recognize your point (I find it annoying myself when people will use the incorrect case e.g. MicroSoft.)

Actually, since this post, and realizing I had made the mistake, I have change the case to the proper usage.






for examples...

M. David Peterson
2007-01-04 22:23:52

Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out!

2008-03-12 20:22:51
Anybody knows what's going on with Vista Smalltalk (Vistascript)? It kind of disappeared, but where? Is it coming back under a different name? Any pointers are welcome. TIA