I gave my talk on XP in Smalltalk, and why I think it's better that way.
You can get the presentation here. I had a good audience, and interestingly, a good number of non-Smalltalkers. All of the attendees received an NC CD, and after my talk, I had a number of people come up to ask questions.
The thing I showed them - maybe I should have done this in the presentation - was to bring
up the Web Toolkit ToyzInc demo, and walk through it. Then put a halt in a page, and
watch the jaws drop! Yes, tools like Eclipse are getting better, but JSP coding isn't
nearly this productive or fun.
Anyway, the show itself was a lot of fun. I actually got to attend this show, instead of
pulling booth duty (my typical fate at these things). It was a lot more fun to listen to
Once nice thing was that translation was provided - not just English to Portuguese, but also
the reverse - so I could participate in events held in Portuguese - very nice. The XP
hour on Thursday was especially nice that way.
Funny thing, or at least ironic - here I studied Spanish for ten years, and the first country
I visit in South America speaks Potuguese. I ran into three simply wonderful people from
Paraguay who also did not speak Potuguese, and for whom English was their second tongue. I spent a
couple of pleasant lunches conversing with them.. oh well.
The folks from Object Magazine (Brazil were also very
nice - Thanks Daniela for being so patient with my Spanish and (very halting) French. Daniela was
kind enough to ask me to write an article for their magazine, and her editor asked to interview
all of the invited speakers via email. I am pleased and humbled to be included with such
a group of XP luminaries. Daniela (and a few other people) encouraged me to write a book - gosh,
that sounds like real work. I'm tickled, and we'll see if I have that much ambition.
The conference ended in a panel discussion on the future of XP - Kent Beck, Flavio, Scott Ambler,
Lowell Lindstrom, Rob Mee - and Klaus Wuestefeld (an organizer and emcee, as well as
XP expert) surprised me by asking me to participate in the panel. I took this as quite
an honor! It was interesting - lots of good audience questions, including one on the future of
Smalltalk. I related Cincom Smalltalk's annual 10% year on year customer increases, and that
there are more Smalltalk vendors now than there were back in 1993 (Object-Arts, Object-Connect).
This led to an interesting question - and later conversation - with Rob Mee. He has been
working on a project with an old (conservative) bank in Germany, where they brought in all
Open Source products to solve a problem - see my post on his talk for some notes. Well,
that's a hard one. On the other hand, some of those OS things - a mock object framework (not needed
in Smalltalk), JUnit (ships with VW), Eclipse (cool, but not as powerful as VW) simply aren't, IMHO,
that relevant. Others, like Tomcat, are. On the other hand, the VW server frameworks scale
The larger point is that there are scads of Open Source components for Java, and
doesn't that swamp Smalltalk's ability to compete? Well, there are two answers to that
- First, ask any of the XP luminaries what they would rather code in. After you here Smalltalk from almost all of them, draw your own conclusions
- Second, The productivity gains in Smalltalk - 3x according to the SPR numbers - will still yield an earlier delivery
i.e., if project delivery dates actually matter
, I think Smalltalk is still a better answer.
Of course, I didn't have all this at hand when I spoke to Rob, and he still has a point. It's
key to get more Open Source stuff going in Smalltalk.
Bottom line, I had a marvelous conference. I am very, very glad that the Cincom Brazil folks -
Thanks Ivan de Souaza and Nelson Martins! invited me. I am grateful to Klaus Wuestefeld for
going out of his way to make me feel welcome. And I want to talk Objective Solutions
- a Cincom Smalltalk customer - for being the driving force behind the show. Oh, and thanks to Scott Ambler for the kind present of a signed AM book!
One other thought - if you go to Brazil, make sure to be ready for a lot
of very good