What's So Bad About Smalltalk?

The past twenty years have brought us all manner of new programming languages, many of which feature lots of reserved words and cartoon-curse-word punctuation, all in the name of making our programming tasks easier, or putting more power into the developer's hands. Should the "less is more" principle be put into play instead? That is, use programming languages which most clearly expresses the intent of the developer.

What constitutes 'most expressive" is certainly debatable, but if you're looking for something that looks less like line noise and more like a prose description of a solution, I'm beginning to ask myself: What the heck's the matter with Smalltalk? Minimal syntax, rich libraries, tremendous IDEs, everything is an object...am I missing something?

I have never programmed in Smalltalk in my career other than playing around with VisualWorks Smalltalk 7.1 at home. Every Smalltalker I've met has without fail been truly excellent at the craft of software development. It makes me feel that I've missed the boat, and that perhaps instead of going crazy with all this wacky new syntax, let's get back to a language that doesn't get in the way of our producing great software.

I sense a certain longing for Smalltalk's simplicity in others as well...see this.

Written on January 20, 2004