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Why No Iron Smalltalk?

March 22, 2010 21:36:17.043

This question about an "Iron Smalltalk" (no momentum in a few years) made me consider the oft stated (and never really fulfilled) desire for "Smalltalk on the JVM", or "Smalltalk on .NET" - I came up with the following:

The reason these "Smalltalk for .NET" and "Smalltalk for the JVM" projects never seem to come off is simple - Smalltalk isn't just flat text in an editor. Smalltalk is the entire interactive environment. It would be fairly simple to get a syntax parser, but it wouldn't be Smalltalk. It would be Ruby or Python with Smalltalk syntax. Somewhat useful perhaps, but not really Smalltalk.

If you really built Smalltalk in one of these other systems, you would have to invest a pretty large effort - and then end up with a system that ran slower than any of the currently extant commercial Smalltalk systems. Given that, it's kind of hard to see the point.

posted by James Robertson

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