Alan Kay to deliver Turing Lecture at
ACM Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications.
Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 24th - 28th, 2004.
Written by Peter William Lount
July 31st, 2004
Alan Kay won the Turning Award this year for his innovative work inventing the Personal Computer and Smalltalk.
In addition to the innovative work that he and his team did at Xerox on Smalltalk, Alan and crew have been
busy working on a highly amazing collaborative communications tool, built with
, that is known as
. It is likely that Alan
will be showing this latest work during his Turing Lecture and otherwise at the OOPSLA conference.
A developer release of Open Croquet is expected in September 2004.
[Update: Open Croquet
is now available for download].
"This is THE killer app for Smalltalk. It has convinced me to switch my
OOP&D; course to Squeak." - Ralph Johnston
Open Croquet is set to ignite Smalltalk
into the mainstream of public consciousness due to it's innovative, interactive and immersive three-dimensional
collaborative environment. Kids (of all ages) will love it as it's an immersive environment where you get to
make up the rules and act out what happens!
It'll be an innovative new means of communication for workers within corporate groups. An amazing new way to
make video, voice and data conference calls.
Camp Smalltalk at OOPSLA
will be held in the "courtyard". We'll have
tables, chairs, and power strips. There will be free wireless all through
the courtyard and perhaps a little beyond, ..."
Applications and systems as complex as Open Croquet are becoming more and more common
due to the large volume of objects needed to make everying work. Since Open Croquet is written in Squeak Smalltalk it's
much easier to evolve the system forward than if it was written in other less dynamic yet otherwise capable languages
like Java, C, C++,
C#, or even LISP. Smalltalk simply has a quality about it that those other languages lack and it's this quality that enables
powerful and amazing systems to be developed. Smalltalk somehow unleashes the creativity in people in such a way as to create
potent results. After all it was designed as a "language" with human beings and a lot of work went into crafting a powerful yet simple and
elegant syntax that enables programs to be clearly and cleanly expressed without reverting to cryptic coding styles or unnecessarily over constrained
language constructs like variable typing. The Smalltalk style frequently enables and encourages shorter, and thus more reusable, objects.
When dealing with complex applications and systems it's best to use the most dynamic systems that have tools
that enable live editing of the programs as they run, that enable schema evolution of live running objects, and that provide
a clean and "literate" syntax with a well developed library of objects. The advantage of Smalltalk's literate syntax is that
it encourages and enables people to "write" programs instead of "cryptically coding" them.
Remeber that Alan coined the phrase "Object-Oriented". He has this to say "I invented the term Object-Oriented,
and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind." It'll be refreshing if Alan takes many of these other langauges and
systems to task for causing decades of "stagnation" and "backwardness" in our industry. It's not enough to have
a powerful langauge, C++ demonstrates this, it's certainly powerful, but it's not dynamic, you can't use it to evolve programs
while they are running, and you're likely to spend much longer developing your system with it. In many ways it's
appropriate that Alan be speaking at the OOPSLA conference since he is the progenitor of the term that
the conference is named after and most of the object technology in use today
derives from his team's work at Xerox on Smalltalk.
Alan's talks are usually highly
interesting, relevant and visionary. He often challenges people in the computer business to think
beyond their immediate needs and to look towards the future to envision what is most important.
As Walt Disney said "Vision are Values projected into the future". The question is what do you value and
how will you project that into the future?
With Alan Kay and other Smalltalk experienced presenters appearing at the ACM OOPSLA Conference this year
it's heating up to be an exciting opportunity for spreading the word about Smalltalk as solutions for real
world business problems.
Plan to attend! Invite other Smalltalker's to attend.
If you are a Smalltalker and are registering to attend OOPSLA please write Smalltalk.org at the top of your registration form! This is to let
them know that people are interested in Smalltalk and that they can find out about it via Smalltalk.org!
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