10/14/2006

Squeak turns 10!

Today 10/14/2006, the Squeak community celebrates Squeak’s tenth birthday.

Squeak is an open source Smalltalk environment. The initial development of Squeak was lead by Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls, the leader and the main implementor of the original Smalltalk project at Xerox. Today, Squeak is managed by the Squeak community, several hundreds of Smalltalk developers all over the world.

Squeak has some unique features (in addition to those of any Smalltalk):

  • Morphic. The GUI is built with the Morphic framework. Morphic is a direct manipulation graphic objects framework that is completely malleable and extensible and doesn’t need host OS widgets.
  • Portability. Squeak runs almost on any OS or hardware platform. And if it doesn’t run somewhere yet, you can port it.
  • Slang. Slang is a subset of the Smalltalk language. Code written in Slang can run as usual but can also be translated to C and compiled to machine code. The result is a big performance increase.
  • Continuations. A unique feature of execution contexts that allows easy programming of software that communicates over a network. The prime example is Seaside.
  • Open VM, written in Squeak. The Squeak VM is an example of Slang programming. The big advantage over other VMs is that it can be run, modified and debugged from within Squeak.

Some innovative technologies are being developed for and in Squeak today. These include Traits, Exupery and Spoon. Also, Squeak is used in several educational and collaboration software projects. These include Etoys, Croquet, Tweak and Scratch.

You can learn more at http://www.squeak.org/

To Dan Ingalls and Alan Kay:

Let me thank you for Smalltalk and Squeak. Your works are a source of inspiration to me. You are always there, as guides on how to program and how to think and express ideas.

I first read about Smalltalk in 1984, in one of the very first computer magazines I ever read. Smalltalk was a research project, inaccessible to outsiders. It was like science fiction.

I only found it again ten years later at the university. The Purple Book, the story of Smalltalk and Xerox Parc were parts of a legend. You were the heroes of an epic story of a previous time. Trying to give people the sacred fire, like Prometheus.

And suddenly, in 1996 you were back with Squeak! The story wasn't finished yet, and you were inviting me (all us) to be part of it, and share the fire with you. The feelings I had at that time are within the happiest and strongest I've ever had.

Thank you for the Fire!

Juan Vuletich

 
 
   2006-2007 Juan M. Vuletich