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,
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
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.
1 - “The big idea is “messaging”"
FINALLY, SOMEONE SAID IT!!! — Well, like
25-30 years ago, but apparently no one but a few folks got the memo! If they had, — well, I’ll stop now while I’m already behind, but let me just state: THANK GOD the *message* seems to be continuing on its journey.
You can’t force perfection. In fact, you can’t even achieve perfection, at least not in this life. That said, SmallTalk, my friends, is pretty damn close, and about as close as you’re going to get to Scheme (speaking in terms of perfection) without actually being Scheme.
On a related note: Remind me someday to tell you about my AtomicTalk project, would you? ;)
2 - The guiding philosophy of Vista Smalltalk is to be a flexible tool for building applications from both local and remote components.
Those are some of the most beautiful words I think I have ever read. Let’s read ‘em again!
The guiding philosophy of Vista Smalltalk is to be a flexible tool for building applications from both local and remote components.
and just to be certain, lets pull out what I consider to be the most significant take away from all of this,
flexible tool for building applications from both local and remote components.
Folks, you may or may not realize it, but Inter and Intra communications between compound documents is at the very core of the applications that we build today on the web. But we got here with a bunch of hacks!
Take a look for yourself,
Um, two things: 1) Vista SmallTalk? 2) Gidde’ up! ;)
Enjoy your Small, Atomic, Talking Messages-based DevDay!
NOTE: There must be something about having the last name of “Kay“, don’t ya think ;)