Thanks, I didn’t know that.
Richard Kenneth Eng
1

I had the thought after I wrote my comment that Kay and the rest of the Learning Research Group gang used Apple’s version of ST-80 (which Apple generously open sourced) in the mid-90s as the basis for Squeak, in order to build Etoys, which was meant for children. People can find Etoys at the Squeakland Foundation website http://squeakland.org. Most of it involves kids building their own “players” or visual objects, which they can then use to create simulations, using graphical tiles that they associate with the “players,” which are pre-scripted actions. Though with some of the tiles, they can write their own scripts, using Smalltalk code. It seems like the point was that Smalltalk is there if kids really want to tinker in greater detail with the Etoys system, but they’re not exposed to it up front.

I don’t know much about marketing. My approach toward it is to be basically truthful, but you don’t have to tell the people you’re selling to everything. You stick to the positive attributes, even if people might bring up objections, or act skeptically. I think a more accurate way of talking about Smalltalk-80's simplicity is to say that the designers didn’t want to complicate the design when they didn’t have to. They were searching for a better expression of what Kay has been calling lately “server-oriented programming,” since his conception of objects was they were meant to be services interacting with each other, and with the user. Its power comes from the fact that they had the desire to whittle out the complexity, but not lose any of its power in the process. I’m sure there’s a more cogent and interesting way of saying that. :)

It’s just that I don’t see Smalltalk’s simplicity and power as unique. If you look at Lisp (such as p. 13 of the Lisp 1.5 manual), it has simplicity in its power as well, and it didn’t come from being designed for children (since it wasn’t). Not to say that you can’t use it with children (it has been), but that wasn’t the design focus.

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