The Collective Capabilities of Available Smalltalk Systems 
Author Message
 The Collective Capabilities of Available Smalltalk Systems


While your question was specific to jitting, these kind of questions come up
frequently. I am regularly surprised when what I [naively] take to be common
knowledge about the Smalltalk language and its execution/deployment options
turns out to uncommon knowledge.

If one looks collectively across all the available Smalltalk
platforms/dialects/implementations, the following will be found to
"collectively" hold for one or more operating systems via one or more
Smalltalk implementations. You may not be able to find a single Smalltalk
implementation that supports all these capabilities.


- Smalltalk runs on just about every cpu chip in production today or
produced at some point in the last 30 years.

- Smalltalk implementations are available from many sources including both
open-source community based systems, and commercially supported enterprise
capable platforms

- The ANSI standards body approved a Smalltalk-98 language standard

- Smalltalk runs on just about every major operating system (including
embedded OS systems, and it has been used at various points in the past to
"be" the operation system [or standalone embedded system].

- Smalltalk platforms support the full range of deployment touted by Java
platforms -- ranging from very small embedded devices all the way up to
multi-cpu mainframe distributed servers.

- Smalltalk is a dynamic language ideally suited to just-in-time integration
that avoids many of the typical fragility issues encountered within
statically typed language systems.

- Smalltalk offers sandboxes and capability based security features

- Smalltalk provides both portable UI frameworks and full native OS UI
integration options

- Smalltalk offers true native multi-threading (SMP) architectures and
facilities for declarative generation of thread safe libraries.

- Smalltalk offers optional declaritive typing and multi-method dispatch

- Smalltalk offers multiple inheritance of behavior and

- Smalltalk provides rich composable namespace architectures

- Smalltalk has very complete, stable, and mature frameworks for
object-oriented development and XP programming techniques.

- Smalltalk provides full repository services for versioning, packaging, and
composition of deployment solutions.

- Smalltalk offers both interactive browser/repository/refactoring based
development and text-file based IDE development with classic IDE source code
control systems.

- Smalltalk can be delivered as binary portable image files, modularized
components, COFF/ELF files [DLL's, EXE's, so's, etc] -- containing portable
IL (intermediate language opcodes), pure statically generated native machine
code, or some hybrid combination. The options for delivering as COFF/ELF
forms include standard formats for COM components, CORBA services, and .NET

- Smalltalk offers rich exception handling, including options for full
native integration of structured OS exceptions and services for cross
language source level debugging.

- Smalltalk provides options for modular deployment of code libraries with
digital signatures and related versioning and security services. Such
modular systems also offer the option to create classes that can be derived
from classes in other non-smalltalk languages, as well as enabling Smalltalk
classes to be subclassed by foreign languages.

- Smalltalk offers rich platforms and frameworks for just about every major
enterprise function

- Smalltalk provides integration with COM, CORBA, as well as its own
architectures for distributed messaging and communication

- Smalltalk integrates with just about every commercially important database
system available today

- Smalltalk offers its own database engines and object-oriented database
services including full transaction capabilities and replication.

- Smalltalk offers rich services for internet functionality including, but
not limited to, full XML services, rich web-services and related web-servers
and Smalltalk scripting of web-pages.

- Smalltalk options exist for full internationalization services which
include unicode and multi-code page support.

- Typical Smalltalk systems are hi-performance state of the art virtual
machines for dynamic languages and as such will execute Smalltalk code
significantly faster than almost all the available scripting languages in
popular use for internet, server, and desktop solution development.


NOTE: This was intended to be a quick post [speaking about ALL smalltalk's
as a collective whole -- intentionally not focusing on a particular
dialect]. It is hardly exhaustive and could certainly be better organized as
a set of charts and web pages once a community post/commentary gathering
process had stabilized.

Please, if others have more to contribute about the "collective whole"
(avoiding the naming of particular dialects) then please do so here. I think
gathering a collective set of statements about the state of Smalltalk the
language and its capabilities would be valuable.

-- Dave S. []

> I /ran into someone the other day who asked whether there were any
> that compiled to machine code.

> I recall that Smalltalk MT does, and I had the impression that the
> JITter produced native machine code. Is the latter true? What [other]
> produce native code?

> Thanks,

> --
> Ronald E Jeffries
> http://www.*-*-*.com/
> http://www.*-*-*.com/
> I'm giving the best advice I have. You get to decide whether it's true for


Fri, 26 Aug 2005 01:35:41 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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