Scripting in Silverlight / Smalltalk’s Opportunity
December 7, 2010
The first .Net preview SDK was released (IIRC) in November of 2000. And I very much liked the idea of a language agnostic virtual machine, so I immediately downloaded it and began some simple projects.
By 2005, the platform and tools had matured considerably. There was a new executable format for deploying applications in browsers (called XBAP at the time, since renamed to XAP) which later became the basis for the Silverlight cross-browser plugin. About this time, I started developing Vista Smalltalk to take advantage of the new possibilities.
And now in late 2010, here is the situation.
Windows Vista was very late and very buggy, but its successor, Windows 7, has been a notable success with over 240 million copies sold at the present time. Silverlight finally runs well on all the major browsers and is being widely deployed. It is also the foundation for Windows 7 phone. So there is now a huge (and growing) ecosystem for .Net/WPF/Silverlight based applications.
And Microsoft seems to have abandoned all development of dynamic languages for the .Net platform.
You can develop in C# or VB for .Net using the free Visual Studio Express IDE’s (about 3.5 GB). But, to deploy to Silverlight, you need the commercial Visual Studio Professional IDE. These are tools designed for (wealthy) professional programmers working in corporate teams.
I am reminded of Digitalk’s Smalltalk/V 2.0 for Windows about 1992. Developing for 16-bit Windows 3.1 in “C” was a horror show (NEAR and FAR pointers, etc). In Smalltalk, it was just “Window new open” and a new window would magically appear.
Somehow, Microsoft has taken a good idea (Silverlight) and made it unnecessarily complex to develop applications (“code behind”, “partial classes”, XAML, etc – YUCK).
I want the simplicity of Smalltalk for the Silverlight ecosystem; that’s what Silver Smalltalk is designed for.
Then just add Silver Smalltalk. And we can share objects over the network just like they did in the 1970’s (at PARC).
Warp speed back to the future.