Sunday, February 27, 2005

Squeak programming system

Squeak is the name of the latest rendition of the Smalltalk programming language and interactive environment. As their web site notes:
Squeak is an open, highly-portable Smalltalk-80 implementation whose virtual machine is written entirely in Smalltalk, making it easy to debug, analyze, and change. To achieve practical performance, a translator produces an equivalent C program whose performance is comparable to commercial Smalltalks.

Other noteworthy aspects of Squeak include:
  • real-time sound and music synthesis written entirely in Smalltalk
  • extensions of BitBlt to handle color of any depth and anti-aliased image rotation and scaling
  • network access support that allows simple construction of servers and other useful facilities
  • it runs bit-identical on many platforms (Windows, Mac, Unix, and others)
  • a compact object format that typically requires only a single word of overhead per object
  • a simple yet efficient incremental garbage collector for 32-bit direct pointers
  • efficient bulk-mutation of objects
Squeak is available for free via the Internet, at this and other sites. Each release includes platform-independent support for color, sound, and network access, with complete source code. Originally developed on the Macintosh, members of its user community have since ported it to numerous other platforms including Windows 95 and NT, Windows CE (it runs on the Cassiopeia and the HP320LX), all common flavors of UNIX, Acorn RiscOS, and a bare chip (the Mitsubishi M32R/D).

It looks quite interesting, but of course it is the Smalltalk programming language.

There is a related effort to exploit Squeak for the education of children, called SqueakLand, packaging Squeak as "a media authoring tool".

There is also a related effort to support a 3-D group collaboration environment called Croquet.

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