Catalogue of Artificial Intelligence Techniques
Keywords: dynamic programming, programming languages, small talk, smalltalk
Categories: Programming Languages
Author(s): Kyriakos Manolis
SmallTalk is the result of the efforts of computer researchers to create a language that allows programmers to model applications closely to real-world problems they try to solve. Itís the second oldest OOP language and the first to become popular. Itís a dynamically typed language which started with the idea of implementing message passing, a method in which objects act on data only by passing messages to itís object, in a page of code. SmallTalk is an extremely consistent language and that makes it a very easy language to learn. It is comprised of just 5 reserved words and itís whole syntax can fit on a page, in contrast with C++/Java that contain about 50 reserved words and huge syntax. In SmallTalk control statements and boolean expressions are not part of the syntax but just messages sent to an object. They are replaced by the library, which users have full access to, giving them the ability to build their own variations. Users can inherit from any class without restrictions and they can extend the language simply by adding new control structures. SmallTalk is a pure OO language. Everything is an object, including classes and methods, and they all need to respond to a common protocol. You donít need to specify the type for variables/arguments and due to SmallTalkís dynamic nature, types are determined on runtime. SmallTalk wants the programmer to focus on the semantics of the problem, write programs faster and spend more time testing, rather than stick with strong typing. Programming with SmallTalk takes less lines and contains less defects than most OOP languages. Because of itís characteristics, it allows exploratory programming and also gives the ability to keep running the program while incremental change is happening, which grants SmallTalk programmer with huge design latitude.
- Ivan Tomek, The Joy of Smalltalk.
- Alan C. Kay, The Early History of Smalltalk.