Status of PEP's?
James_Althoff at i2.com
James_Althoff at i2.com
Wed Mar 6 02:09:41 CET 2002
> Interesting observation. But actually, we very much chose those forms to
> "underline" not to "hide" the fact that numbers are first-class objects
> Smalltalk (as they are also in Python).
> Yup that's the current Smalltalk cult <wink>.
Well, it was the *original* one, too.
> But it is not the impression I had reading the Alan Key's
> paper about the history of Smalltalk.
You might want to go back and read it again. Alan (it's Alan Kay) is the
one that converted me and everyone else in his group to *his* original
"everything is an object" view. From the "Blue Book", Smalltalk-80 The
Language and its Implementation", Goldberg and Robson, 1983 ISBN
0-201-11371-6 ABCDEFGHIJ-HA-89876543: "The Smalltalk-80 system is based on
ideas gleaned from the Simula language and from the visions of Alan Kay,
who first encouraged us to try to create a uniformly object-oriented
system". The vision wasn't based on some notion of doing "all objects"
just to be different. It came from a deep intuition that this would be a
more natural and robust way to model things when programming. (Alan has
interesting thoughts about viewing large programming systems like
biological systems). And as a way to make computer programming easier.
For everyone (so to speak).
> There were all the aspects together: everything as an object
> as hard-core CS abstraction (like eval and lists and function
> invokation in lisp), as a natural mapping from the real word
> in the computer world, and the english-like aspect.
> My question is about newbies (kids in Alan Key's case),
> as I said I cannot answer myself, and it seems
> you can't either <wink>.
I *can* give you personal experience, however. Whether it was kids brought
in from local high schools to play with early versions of Smalltalk, C.S.
students from Stanford working as summer interns, or programmers in other
parts of Xerox PARC who were not in the Smalltalk development group, it was
the same thing: no one teaching the language to anyone new shied away from
highlighting "everything is an object" (including numbers) right from the
beginning -- quite the opposite, in fact. (Check out the "Blue Book"
mentioned above, Part One, Chapter 1: "Objects and Messages"). And
everyone in the group certainly *believed* that newbies found such an
approach to be very friendly. Alan still likes to show videos of
highschoolers using Smalltalk to do advanced things like programming
helicopter flight simulations to prove this point -- which is pretty
impressive when you realize this was happening 25 years ago.
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