Largest Provider of Commercial Smalltalk
Cincom is one of the largest commercial providers of Smalltalk, with twice as many partners and customers than other commercial providers.

Tom Nies

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Smalltalk Digest: February Edition

Smalltalk DigestWelcome to the February 2019 edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest.  In this value-packed edition, we will:

  • Talk about how business leaders can make the smart choice by using Cincom Smalltalk.
  • Show how using the 3X Methodology can lead to success in your business. 
  • Feature a new Hidden Gems screencast.
  • Talk about two Cincomers speaking at an upcoming Javascript meetup … and more. 

Business Leaders Make the Smart Choice by Using Cincom Smalltalk

Business Leaders Are Concerned with Risk

Business leaders are always concerned with risk. One bad decision could cause a loss of revenue, resources or personnel and could even lead to the untimely end of their business. This responsibility is one of the things that keep business leaders awake at night. They have the responsibility of making decisions that will generate enough revenue to keep their employees with jobs and providing for their families, all while trying to move the company forward and being competitive.

Research Shows that Risk Is Increasing

As we look at the tech market specifically, Forrester says that the 2019 and 2020 Tech Market has the potential to have more risk. In “The Global Tech Market Outlook for 2019 to 2020,” Forrester predicts that slower economic growth and consumer confidence in the US, as well as trade issues around the globe, may create more risk over these next two years for those in tech fields.

With this being such a crucial issue for business leaders, looking for the lowest risk on any decision is a high priority. In the tech market, there are so many choices of programming languages for application development. In fact, new programming languages seem to crop up each year as others fade away. With so many options, how can business leaders make the smart choice for which programming language to use?

We Suggest Cincom Smalltalk as a Low-Risk, High-Value Development Tool

So that leads us to Cincom! What’s the advantage in using Cincom Smalltalk?

Cincom is the largest commercial provider of Smalltalk in the world, with twice as many partners and customers than all other commercial providers combined. Whatever type of application you need, the Cincom Smalltalk suite of tools helps you create value at the lowest possible risk and assures you of the fastest return on investment.

What provides the high value of Smalltalk? Being a long-time Smalltalker, Arden Thomas, the Product Manager for Cincom Smalltalk, says:

“Smalltalk had a massive research and development investment in time, iterations and careful development, to create a language that is easier to use and understand. Smalltalk generally allows solving a problem more succinctly, and clearly, which allows less code to solve a problem.

“Less and clearer code is easier to understand, maintain, and costs less over the life cycle of a software application. The research and development investment in Smalltalk is likely unrivaled by any other language.”

To give an illustration of this, Arden provides this quote and explanation:

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine, 
but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.”  
– Benjamin Graham

Arden loves this quote because it gives a great analogy for why Smalltalk will still be successful and used in application development for decades into the future. In the quote, Graham relates the short term of the stock market to be like a popularity contest. The price of stocks could rapidly change, while the value of the stock remains the same. This could be from traders coming in and moving the market, the stock being manipulated in the short term or people simply chasing fads. 

In the long term, the market tends to gain value due to economic growth and other factors, similar to a weighing machine. Measuring stocks over longer periods of time weeds out the fads, leaving the actual price of the stock and reflecting the true value of the company. Investors should always avoid moving on short-term fads. Eventually these fads fade, and the true value of the stock is what remains. The same holds true for Smalltalk. Over time, even though challenged by many other languages, the productivity and value of Smalltalk wins out.

Smalltalk Is the Most Productive Language, But Don’t Just Take Our Word for It …

We know business leaders are not just looking for product messaging from vendors. They need validation from third-party sources—someone other than the vendor—that can help them confirm that they are making the smartest choice for their programming language. Although this isn’t new to Smalltalkers, business leaders looking for help in their decision-making can look to Capers Jones of Namcook Analytics for unbiased research on the topic.

Capers Jones is a long-time expert and author of studies that compare programming languages, including productivity measures. In a recent paper, Capers Jones shows several factors that contribute to the overall value of a programming language over the full life cycle of its use. Although the study shows many types of languages combined, you will see that Smalltalk comes out on top in general-purpose programming languages and also rates very high in function points per month with fewer lines of code.

Languages Size in KLOC* Work Hours per Function Point Function Points per Month



6.88 19.19

Visual Basic

26.67 7.85 16.82


29.09 8.29 15.92
APL 32 8.82 14.97
Perl 35.56 9.46


Haskell 37.65 9.84 13.41


51.2 12.31


C++ 53.33 12.7



53.33 12.7 10.4
PHP 53.33 12.7 10.4
Python 53.33 12.7 10.4
Zimbu 58.18 13.58


Quick Basic 60.95 14.08


* KLOC = lines of code, is a software metric used to measure the size of a computer program by counting the number of lines in the text of the program’s source code.

To see this paper in its entirety, click here.

As Thomas M. Nies, Chairman and CEO of Cincom Systems, Inc. says,

“High value and low cost with a rapid return on investment at low risk—
you simply can’t go wrong by choosing Cincom Smalltalk.”

How Can Implementing the 3X Methodology Lead to Success in Your Business?

When people are starting a business, expanding their organization or launching a new product idea, they typically start with a business plan.  Business plans help focus their company outlook and give clarity to their purpose. However, creating a business plan can be daunting, and some may not know where to start.  The same goes for direction. People have ideas of building solutions for the market, but some may not know how to narrow the scope to the smartest solution. These types of things are critical for success in business.

3XFor those seeking guidance on building a business plan and finding the smartest solution for a demand in the market, the 3X Methodology is a great place to start. Kent Beck discovered this methodology when he noticed that Facebook did things differently and distinguished three key phases of a winning idea.

Beck was a programmer, coach and mentor of programmers for about six years and is now independent on public speaking tours, authoring a new book and continuing to coach and mentor successful teams worldwide.  He is known for his contributions in software development:

  • Patterns for software
  • The rediscovery of test-first programming
  • The xUnit family of developer testing tools
  • Extreme programming

Beck is also the author/co-author of Implementation PatternsExtreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change 2nd EditionContributing to EclipseTest-Driven Development: By ExamplePlanning Extreme ProgrammingSmalltalk Best Practice Patterns and the JUnit Pocket Guide.

What Is This 3X Methodology?

The 3X Methodology, or “Explore, Expand, Extract,” is a thinking model to better understand and adapt to changing contexts as you take your ideas on a journey down a winning path to success. This is very applicable to a number of business settings because it helps bring direction, focus and alignment. High-level executives as well as product management, developers, people in operations and others can benefit from this methodology. As Beck explains:

“Explore – The risky search for a viable return on a viable investment [via experimentation]. … If you’re lucky, one of these experiments turns out to be unexpectedly successful, which leads to:
Expand – Now things are going nuts. … Unanticipated bottlenecks appear. … Once growth becomes routine, it’s time to:
Extract – Now the shape of the problem and solution spaces are clear. One euro in equals three euros out. Playbooks emerge. … Economies of scale matter. …

– Kent Beck, The Product Development Triathlon

As an idea progresses, it can change depending on where it is on its journey from the Explore stage into the Expand stage and finally into the Extract stage.  This includes how it’s financed, tested, planned, implemented and evolved.  It even covers managing risk, which as we discussed above, is one of the priorities of a business leader.

Watch Kent Beck share his thoughts on “3X: Explore, Expand, Extract” for yourself:

If you’d like to see an example of how one Cincom Smalltalk customer used the 3X Methodology to build out a business plan and create a smarter solution, listen as Suzanne Fortman discusses it on this video:

What Is the Easiest Way to Become a Cincom Smalltalk Customer?

You’ve just seen how using Cincom Smalltalk gives you a low-risk, high-value option for application development. You’ve also seen a great methodology for understanding how to find the smartest solutions to develop with your business. But now what?  Are you ready to take the next step and build your successful business?

For individuals who are looking to start a business but need a jumpstart, one exciting program we have to help you is the Cincom Smalltalk REV Program.  The REV program is an opportunity for YOU to take your idea to the next level and create your own business.

We created this program for you to partner with Cincom and receive all the benefits of being a customer. As a Cincom Smalltalk customer, you receive:

  • The full product
  • Full support for the product
  • An opportunity to join the Developer Program to get early beta releases of our product to see where we are taking it and comment to help us build out the future of commercial Smalltalk
  • An opportunity to join the Partner Promotion Program to promote your application, help you develop the right markets or find the smartest space to promote what you have been working on

Are You Ready to Take Your Business to the Next Level?

Still not sure about your decision?  Listen to Suzanne Fortman, the Program Director and Engineering Manager of Cincom Smalltalk, talk about how one person used the REV program to jumpstart his business:

The REV Program is a quick, easy way to partner with us and grow your business. For only $500, this is a great investment that could pay big dividends as you grow your business. Plus, as highlighted above, this program gives you all the benefits of being a customer with us!

Don’t let another day go by. Let’s grow your business together and take your idea to the next level. Join the REV program today.

  • GET the Limited Value Added License – $500 

Want to Use DomainMaster with Multi-Selection Lists?

Contribution by Arden Thomas

The purpose of the Hidden Gems Screencast is to give developers who use Cincom Smalltalk some valuable insight into the useful abilities of the products that may not be obvious. 

This month’s Hidden Gems covers a number of topics, both past and new, to give developers more tools, techniques and examples at their disposal. A number of techniques will be used in the construction of an example application. Topics include:

  • Tags
  • Secure calls
  • URL screen scraping
  • Lists/multi-selection lists
  • Set union/intersection
  • void
  • lineGrid:

Don’t Miss the Upcoming CharmCityJS JavaScript Meetup

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Arden Thomas and Vladimir Degen will be giving talks at CharmCityJS. This meetup brings the JavaScript community of Baltimore together on the first Wednesday of each month for talks, hacking and networking. They welcome newcomers of all experience levels, from first-time web programmers to CTOs. The meeting takes place at Oath, 2400 Boston Street Suite 300, Baltimore, MD. 

  • To see descriptions of what Arden and Vlad will be talking about, click here.

Calling All Smalltalk Enthusiasts in North America!


Interested in Smalltalk on IoT devices, programming language design or tooling? What about Smalltalk on web frameworks, virtual machine implementations and data processing applications?

If you’ve never heard of Camp Smalltalk or have never had the chance to attend one, it’s your opportunity to meet and engage with a passionate community of folks interested in Smalltalk programming. Camp Smalltalk is an open community that enjoys sharing ideas and listening to new ones … and everyone is welcome!

We encourage you to follow Camp Smalltalk North America on their two social accounts:

More Opportunities to Network with Smalltalkers and Programmers in 2019

In addition to the CharmCityJS meetup and Camp Smalltalk North America mentioned above, there are other opportunities to meet with Smalltalkers and programmers from around the world.  Upcoming networking and learning opportunities include:

*Mark your calendars!  This is Arden Thomas and Vladimir Degen’s scheduled talk.

Helpful Customer Links and Information

Our Customer Portal has links to all the important information our partners and customers need.  Here’s a quick guide:

Popular Product Resources

Here’s a quick guide to the popular resources we have available on our website: