Ancient History

My history with Smalltalk stretches back to the 90s and I’m happy to say has come back on the scene in 2019.

My first exposure was thanks to an elective that I took with Bjorn Freeman-Benson back in (I believe) Fall 1992 at the . I should go dig up my transcripts to check but I am pretty sure it was that semester which coincided with my first OOPSLA (see below).

Bjorn offered a course dedicated to Object-Oriented Programming which at the time was avant-garde. I was definitely glad that I registered for the course. I still remember our final project (Ian, Helen, Mark and myself) implementing a card game with a full GUI. I should do some research about which version of Smalltalk we were using then. My guess is Smalltalk/V or perhaps Visual Smalltalk Enterprise.

Books on a shelf related to Smalltalk programming language
“Smalltalk books” flickr photo by eMaringolo shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


My visits with Bjorn during this semester led to my first trip to an OOPSLA (Object-Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications) conference as a student volunteer. Bjorn was the student volunteer chair for that year: 1992 in Vancouver. I went on to continue as a volunteer at OOPSLA 94 and then part of the organizing committee from 1995 to 2007. That is a long story that should be told somewhere.

University of Washington

I continued working with Bjorn doing a directed studies course where I implemented a constraint solver from his Ph.D. research in a new programming language: Beta. That was a blast and I learned so much about object-oriented programming with that project.

Turns out that Bjorn appreciated my work or attitude or something and suggested that I apply for grad school a the University of Washington. I did apply and I was accepted and went there in the Fall of 1993 but that is another story for another day.

Pharo Smalltalk

Closing the loop, I discovered Pharo thanks to a friend in our Alea Iacta Est gaming community. My previous work with Smalltalk was Squeak many years ago and I didn’t use it that much. I’m not really sure why.

I was able to give a very quick introduction to Smalltalk and “object think” to my TC2004 Analysis and Modeling of Software Systems course with two one-hour sessions but it was nowhere near enough. Based on that experience, I decided to make a big push in that same course this semester to really give them a solid experience with Smalltalk. I will have to report on that later.

We have become a Pharo Consortium Academic partner, you can check out our Tec de Monterrey logo linked there on the page.


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