Smalltalk Environment Comparisons

(Moved from SmalltalkFaq to keep it from balooning too much)

Q: Of the various SmalltalkEnvironments, which ones are used by WikiZens for commercial projects?

A: Let's do a vote by counting. This is purely a popularity contest, disregarding actual usefulness.

Q: Same question, but this time, give your opinion on the usefulness of the environment.

A: Vote using the scale [0-5], vote for as many as you have an opinion on, but only once per environment. 0 is 'Dead' or 'Useless', 3 is 'It can get the job done', 4 is 'I like it and enjoy using it', and 5 is 'This is my number one choice!'

Q: Can SqueakSmalltalk do application development? Is it just limited to "toy" research and educational uses?

A: I like Squeak and I've played around with it a fair bit. My complaints on Squeak are too numerous to enumerate, but they're almost all minor. Squeak's biggest fault is performance. It's not slow for general development use or simple solutions, but it is a CPU hog. So, Squeak wouldn't be my first choice for serious application development, but I think it certainly could be used in solving certain kinds of problems. -- JeffPanici


Q: What's the big difference between VisualWorks and ObjectStudio? Is it just the platform dependency thing, or is there more to it?

A: PleaseComment

Q: Has anyone used DolphinSmalltalk extensively? What are its shortcomings (if any) when compared with the other commercial Smalltalks?

A: PleaseComment

Q: Why would I use VisualWorks over the other Smalltalks?

A: I use two SmallTalk environments on a regular basis: SmalltalkEmTee and VisualWorks. SmalltalkEmTee is my "Windows Specific" SmallTalk, which we use for our game development. VisualWorks is a purer SmallTalk. I like both. I think VisualWorks has the largest user community, a good licensing system, and a lot of history.

I would pick the SmallTalk environments that are right for you and the kinds of software you're trying to develop. -- JeffPanici

VisualWorks is bloated and it's class libraries look like they've been designed by an infinite number of monkeys. VisualWorks is the Java of Smalltalk. -- SunirShah

Q: Why would I use DolphinSmalltalk over the other Smalltalks?

A: Some reasons: it has pretty good UI that can make your learning curve shorter and it is pretty good integrated with Windows. If you're sticked in Windows and have no particular performance requirements (GC issues are worth considering too) Dolphin is your choice. -- PavelPerikov

Q: Why would I use SqueakSmalltalk over the other Smalltalks?

A: It's open source and being actively developed by many of the original Smalltalk team, such as AlanKay. In fact, Squeak's image is incredibly old, dating back decades. It is Smalltalk and Smalltalk is Squeak. Of course, history isn't enough to make me care either.

Squeak's main research point is MorphicInterface, stolen from SelfLanguage. They've given up on the widget hierarchy that they invented and the rest of the world has adopted and moved onto a more powerful paradigm. Squeak is a toy, but a serious toy.

A: Because it's the language underpinning OpenCroquet, and you want to do Croquet development.

A: Because it comes bundled with many resources for teaching computing to children, and you want to teach computing to your kids (or to a classroom of them).

Q: Why would I use SmalltalkEmTee over the other Smalltalks?

A: PleaseComment

Q: Why would I use VisualAge over the other Smalltalks?

A: Because you have legacy VisualAge code. VisualAge is dead.

A: VisualAge is no more dead than any other Smalltalk. You may discard or ignore the VisualAge interface builder, it is worse than useless. IbmSmalltalk, (the Smalltalk environment provided by VisualAge) however, is robust, well-factored, and reasonably well supported. The repository (EnvyDeveloper) is head and shoulders above every alternative. The environment integrates easily and gracefully with external libraries and utilities. The graphics support is well-integrated with the underlying platform, easy to extend, and easy to code. With all due respect to the cynics here, VisualAge is a better Smalltalk than VisualWorks, and IBM is a more reliable supplier than Cincom. The other Smalltalks may be interesting niche players, but are basically share-ware, for better or worse. I use VisualAge over the other Smalltalks because it is commercially available, robust and reliable, has reasonable performance, and supports a rich set of secondary add-ons and extensions. Most of the time, after a reasonably gentle learning curve, it basically stays out of the way and lets you focus on whatever you're trying to accomplish. It generally provides some existing way to do just about anything I want to do, and seldomly gets in the way when I have to customize or extend that way. Easy things are easy, hard things are possible.
See also: SmalltalkImplementations


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