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Alan Kay to deliver Turing Lecture at OOPSLA 2004!
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 Squeak Smalltalk, that is known as Open Croquet. 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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