What killed Smalltalk could kill Python

Tim Daneliuk tundra at tundraware.com
Thu Jan 22 00:37:00 CET 2015


On 01/21/2015 10:34 AM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> In 2009, Robert Martin gave a talk at RailsConf titled "What Killed
> Smalltalk Could Kill Ruby". (No cheering, that sort of attitude is one of
> the things that killed Smalltalk.) Although Martin discusses Ruby, the
> lessons could also apply to Python.


I find these kinds of discussions sort of silly.  Once there is a critical
mass of installed base, no language EVER dies.

I suspect the real reason Smalltalk sort of got kicked to the curb is because
a) It clung to a kind of OO purity that simply is at odds with the practice
of programming at large scale  and   b) It thus never built the aforementioned
critical mass.

Language adoption at the scale needed to make a real dent doesn't happen
because of technical superiority (witness PHP as just one example).  It happens
because lots of people solve real problems faster than they used to.
In fact - outside the language cognoscenti and uber nerd community - I'd
argue that  Python adoption has little to do with functional programming,
lambda, OO, generators, or whatever happens to float your boat.  Python
got adopted because it made code production faster, and therefore cheaper.
Economics matters way more than technology here, I think.

I wrote some rambling disquisition on these matters some years ago ...

  http://www.tundraware.com/TechnicalNotes/Python-Is-Middleware

  http://www.tundraware.com/TechnicalNotes/How-To-Pick-A-Programming-Language
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