Smalltalk's footprint in object and dynamic languages

Objects and Dynamic Languages:

"José Antonio Ortega Ruiz has a lot of good things to say about Smalltalk, and about some of the prototype/multi-dispatch children spawned from it - Self and Slate in particular. It's a long read, but a good read."

There is a lot of stuff in that post. Enough to keep me occupied for at least a month of experimenting. Two new programming languages which are interesting enough in their own respect have been presented. I downloaded Self first to try it out. It looks like Sun has abandoned the project but the contents are still available at the website. I had not have the chance to try Slate yet.

Both Self and Slate come with their own "living" environment which is akin to what Smalltalk has to offer. I can say that Squeak's interface is actually slightly better than what Self has to offer for now. But then again, people actually develop stuff on Squeak and Self seems to be more of a research language so the improvements might have been made by the contributors. And, though I am uncertain why, Self actually has an installer for OS X albeit being optimized for the PowerPC, which means that it probably will not run on Intel Macs.

However, to actually use a language requires some real applications for it. It was easy to actually learn Ruby because there is already a lot of libraries written for it. Not to mention the buzz that Rails generated for it. However for smaller languages such as these, actually writing a real application might be troublesome. Something like Ruby Quiz might be useful.

A while back, I thought of learning Io as well. Io, Self and Slate are all prototype based languages so there really isn't going to be too much difference in which I choose to learn. However, I might be entirely wrong. The difference could be as great as Java and Ruby.

Either way, prototype languages are something interesting to know about. I might also take a look into aspect-oriented programming and see how that compares.

There is nothing much I can say about prototype based languages except they do seem to fill in the niche for more complex systems that depend on multiple objects to determine behavior. There should be a use for prototype based languages in the future once the industry absorbs it. After all, it took quite a while before object-oriented programming became a buzzword among everyone.

Another point I wanted to make in this post: go subscribe to Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants. The author really makes it a point to update the blog at least daily and presents rather interesting articles. And, unsurprisingly, the blog is powered off Smalltalk.

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