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The History of Smalltalk

1960 - August 1981
An excellent starting place for learning about the early history of Smalltalk (1960 - August 1981) is "The Early History of Smalltalk" by Alan Kay (html, pdf, and book formats).

August 1981 Byte Magazine Smalltalk Issue
Byte Magazine published a special issue in August 1981 that was completely devoted to the Smalltalk-80 Langauge and System. A key article was written by Dan Ingalls and entitled "Design Principles Behind Smalltalk". It provides an overview of the core ideas of Smalltalk. This article is still considered required reading for anyone new to Smalltalk. The cover of Byte Magazine was done by Robert Tinney and is of a multi-colored balloon leaving the ivory tower of Xerox labs.

1983 Smalltalk-80 Books Published
Addison Wesley publishes the three Blue, Red and Green Smalltalk-80 books authored by Adele Goldberg, David Robson and Glenn Krasner.
  • Smalltalk-80: Blue Book: The Language and It's Implementation
    ISBN 0-201-11371-6, amazon.com barnsandnoble.com
  • Smalltalk-80: Red Book: The Interactive Programming Environment
    ISBN 0-201-11372-4
  • Smalltalk-80: Green Book: Bits of History, Words of Advice
    ISBN 0-201-11669-3
1983 Official Release of Smalltalk-80
1983 saw the first publicly available release of Smalltalk known as Smalltalk-80, the definitive release of the language that has set the standard for high level langauge systems since.

1984 Apple Release of Smalltalk-80
Apple releases a USD$50.00 version of Smalltalk-80 for the Apple MacIntosh Plus. System requirements are a hard disk drive and one megabyte of RAM. Available working RAM once Smalltalk was loaded was 50 kilobytes, barely enough to use the system.

Digitalk Smalltalk/V
Event Dates? History? Personal Reports?

ParcPlace Smalltalk-80/VisualWorks Smalltalk
ParcPlace is spun off of Xerox. Event Dates? History? Personal Reports?

ParcPlace-Digitalk Merger into ObjectShare
ParcPlace and Digitalk merge creating ObjectShare. Company implodes soon after. Event Dates? History? Personal Reports?

IBM VisualAge Smalltalk
Instantiations (?) creates a Smalltalk and IBM buys it and (later?) buys Instantiations. Event Dates? History? Personal Reports?

Squeak Smalltalk
Squeak Smalltalk project started at Apple by Alan Kay and Dan Ingals. Squeak is based on the Apple Smalltalk-80 system (and presumably license). Event Dates? History? Personal Reports?

1983 -> Present, Smalltalk Proliferates, Stablelizes and Proliferates Again!
Since it's Official Release Smalltalk has proliferated and currently has around twenty active versions in distribution and a few in various stages of development. Recently a flood of new versions and variations have surfaced including numerous versions aimed at bringing Smalltalk into the Java universe.

The Future
As Alan Kay said near the inception of Smalltalk, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it!". That is just what the various users, vendors and creators of Smalltalk systems are doing! Let's help them create a future of computing that is beyond what we have today! Let the revolution finally begin! Watch Alan Kay's video presentation The Computer "Revolution" Hasn't Happened Yet! and get involved assisting one of the development projects to invent the future!
Smalltalk History Project
We are actively seeking to create a detailed (and hopefully accurate) time line of the History of Smalltalk. Your help is needed and appreciated. Please send us any information you have about the history of Smalltalk. Please indicate your source of knowledge and especially if it's first hand, i.e. you were there! We need information about all versions of Smalltalk including people and company names, their roles, dates, key events, non-key events, innovations, press releases, product releases, product strategies, development methods, clients, purposes, and any other information you might have. Thanks in advance.
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