Is Smalltalk still relevant?

Discussion of Smalltalk Language pros/cons

jayerk
I'm not trolling, just trying to understand whether Smalltalk usage is
increasing or decreasing.  Searching Google brings back 7,690,000 hits
vs. Java at 840,000,000 and 64,200,000 for C#.  A survey of local
(Seattle) job postings doesn't pull up any Smalltalk developers wanted.

J.A.                                            
Yanni
Since you're asking, and so have a few others,
then, IMO, the interest in Smalltalk is increasing.
Assuming interest leads to usage, then one might
conclude that usage of Smalltalk is increasing.

As for your Google result, I don't see how absolute
number of hits can allow any conclusion regarding
trends.

As for job postings, if you're trying to anticipate
a trend, then you've got to go with your instincts.
Do more research into Smalltalk, download a free
version, and try it out. Ask questions, because some
newcomers need to change paradigms (depending on their
individual background).
                                            
jayerk
Thanks for the information.  I'd like to know the source for your info
about Smalltalk's growing interest so that I can track it.  WRT the
Google stats, I wasn't really suggesting any trends but rather the
relative levels of interest between Smalltalk, Java and C#.
                                            
Yanni
My previous post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. The "source"
of the info is the empirical evidence of your very own
question (and of similar ones). For many years, very few
newcomers have asked about Smalltalk. But just in this
last year (or maybe few months), I've seen many a newcomer
post on various Smalltalk newsgroups, mailing lists,
blogs, and chats.

I suspect that two factors are at work:

(1) The Java/C# fascination has run it's course, but in it's
wake, things like using a virtual machine to execute bytecodes
and garbage collection are now mainstream technologies. These
very same features were previously used to discredit Smalltalk.
People seem ready to look beyond static typing (as evidenced
by the great interest in Ruby).

(2) The industry "pundits" have been disintermediated, by websites
and blogs. People can now discover, for themselves, the benefits
of Smalltalk. The value of large marketing budgets to gain wide
coverage in trade rags has been diminished. Smalltalk has never
had anywhere near the massive amounts of money thrown at marketing
Java/C#.

There could be two possible outcomes: the industry will re-invent
Smalltalk, or it'll discover that Smalltalk was ahead of its time
and start using it now.
                                            
jayerk
I wonder about your predictions in the face of the constantly recurring
phenomenon of "the next new thing."  I agree that, as "the next new
thing," Java has run it's course and C# isn't far behind.  That said,
there is still a large market for Java and C# developers due to the
amount of existing code and the anathama of companies to adopt yet
another language.  Even COBOL is still around.

However, it's not like this industry to look backward to the "good old
days" for its technology.  I think QBasic was a great _little_ tool and
could easily have been revived for use in developing utilities and
scripting but that's not in the cards (even though it has it's
advocates as evidenced by the number of web sites devoted to it).
Likewise, I don't doubt that Smalltalk could be extended to handle SOA,
database access, XML document processing and possibly web server-side
code (if it hasn't been already).

As functional and productive as it may be, our culture doesn't value
things solely for their intrinsic value.  There has to be a coolness
factor.  Reps aren't reversed that easily...
                                            
Louis
Smalltalk is so little known it can be "the next new thing".


Most Smalltalks do handle these.


Most newbies don't know of any bad rep for Smalltalk and anyone who thinks it
has a bad rep can have it easily dispelled by taking a look at it.