How many people here program in Smalltalk?
I know from correspondence with Ruby In Steel users that there are at least a few Smalltalkers among you. Even so, my guess is that the vast majority of Ruby programmers have never used Smalltalk. I've been thinking quite a bit about the relationship of Smalltalk to Ruby recently. While I am not a Smalltalk zealot (I don't believe that Smalltalk is necessarily better than all the OOP languages that have followed it in every single respect) I do believe that some of the great ideas from Smalltalk have been imperfectly adopted by other languages.
I also think that Ruby has the potential to bring much of the beauty and elegance of Smalltalk more into the mainstream. It has a syntax which most people find more accessible than Smalltalk, it's not bound into its IDE (this could be seen as either a strength or a weakness of Smalltalk) and it just seems to be 'in the right place at the right time'. But there are things about Ruby that could, in my view, have been done better; and I also have reservations about the coding style adopted by some Ruby programmers.
Anyway, some of you may have spotted that I've just kicked off a new series on the blog. It's called Ruby The Smalltalk Way
and it's mainly aimed at Ruby programmers with little or no prior knowledge of Smalltalk. So far I've only written an introduction. In the next part I'll get down to some hands-on coding. I'd be interested in views from Smalltalkers and non-Smalltalkers alike on the comparison between Ruby and Smalltalk. Later in the series I'll be looking at syntax, IDE, concepts, implementation and coding style...