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I've been playing a bit with Smalltalk, and I found it interesting.

I know that there are some classical examples of Smalltalk: the Smalltalk images themselves and the Seaside web framework, and that there are lots of in-house custom applications built using this language.

I'd like to know:

  • if there are computer applications actively used and developed apart from the ones I mentioned;

  • if there are software houses that use Smalltalk for doing their job;

  • when would you use Smalltalk instead of another language for developing from scratch a new application;

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migrated from Feb 20 '11 at 6:44

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

This is off-topic for Stack Overflow: voting to migrate to Programmers.SE. –  user8 Feb 16 '11 at 9:19
You're right, sorry.. I voted too, as I can't find a way to directly migrate my question. –  Andrea Spadaccini Feb 16 '11 at 9:25
...also slightly not to the question, Smalltalk influenced many new languages like Ruby, which is used quite wiedely especially for web development using Ruby on Rails... –  Gabriel Ščerbák Feb 20 '11 at 0:35

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

On the web application front specially there are more and more small companies/startups doing web development in three Smalltalk web frameworks, besides Seaside also Aida/Web and Iliad.

There is a growing consensus that Smalltalk has a big and new opportunity exactly on the web application field.

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In my experience, SmallTalk's strongest industry foothold seems to be in the financial area, but it's actually used in several other industries, although not that widely known.

Here (warning PDF) is a report from a researcher at Portland State University with several usecases.

GemStone/S is a kind of application server that claims to have some quite hevy-duty customers in the logistics sector.

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Nice, the PDF is a cut and paste of web sites also mentioned by others, but it's nice to see it run on the iPhone. Thanks –  Andrea Spadaccini Feb 17 '11 at 8:39

Smalltalk is a general purpose environment, so is difficult to really know all the places where it is used, even if we take just a dialect and not all the implementations. For example, in Pharo here is a success story page that shows the long range of usage of it:

Also, as a system's engineer, there are a couple of projects, I specially like:

-The Moose project, made with Pharo. A tool for software analysis, very useful for architectural assessments.

-Expecco, made with Smalltalk/X. A tool for test automation and stress testing.

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On the desktop side, one of the most amazing pieces of software I've ever seen is Scratch, built by the MIT in Squeak Smalltalk and used in a truckload of schools and other educational institutions. As of today, the number of projects in the official scratch repository is of 1,590,936.

I'd actually call this one the Squeak killer app, in my country it's being used in a lot of schools and children are learning to program and deal with computers thanks to this software.

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+1 really nice project! –  Andrea Spadaccini Feb 16 '11 at 10:42

For new applications: for systems that are engineering time limited, and where it is dominated by developing new functionality, not glueing together existing libraries and databases. Especially when they are webbased.

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See 95% of the world's French fries, and 30% of the world's shipping containers are processed by Smalltalk. And over 1 billion mobile phones have been built with a tool made with Smalltalk.

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