[self-interest] Re: An OO history

Steve Dekorte steve at dekorte.com
Mon Apr 16 23:57:12 UTC 2001

Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
> Steve Dekorte wrote:
>> I think a "Little Self" that was as "small" and at least as fast as
>> the common web scripting languages(Python, Perl) would give the
>> language it's best shot at getting widespread use. I guess that may
>> have never been a goal of the original Self project, but it seems to
>> me that it is the shared goal of all these other Self
>> implementations.
> Not, ironically enough, the two "tinySelf" implementations I did.

Interesting, what was your primary goal?

>>> Language elements in general, but syntax most of all, are a matter
>>> of taste, so it makes no sense to talk about making it better or
>>> worse.
>> It does if you value people choosing to use the language.
> Define "people". I can claim the C-like syntax in Java has cause many
> people to reject it in favor of the more Pascal-like Delphi, and I
> would be correct. For people who are starting out or have a C
> background, this isn't a problem at all.

 >10% of the developers in one of the top 5 application spaces - desktop, 
web, servers, embedded, OS

> I would say that Beta is the language that has suffered the most due to
> its syntax. Lisp has certainly turned away many people with its
> parenthesis and attracted others. Given the people in those two groups,
> I would say it was a net gain for the language. I am not [aware] of 
> people
> who really have had problems with the Smalltlak syntax.

In my experience, most developers find Smalltalk style code very 
difficult to read.

>>   It's interesting that the two languages of the web are split on
>> their adoption of these two innovations of Self - JavaScript got a
>> proto object model and Java got some of the compiler technology.
> Was JavaScript influenced by Self at all? I meant like NewtonScript was.

I'm not sure. I was mostly noting that neither of these successful 
languages innovated on multiple fronts at once. It seems that successful 
technologies are more often incremental ones, and that at least 
statistically, the more innovations( > 1) you try to put into a single 
platform, the less likely it is to succeed in the marketplace. If this 
is true, then you have to be very careful about prioritizing which 
innovations you choose to visibly employ if you care about making 
something that "changes the world".


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