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

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Smalltalk Digest: June Edition

Smalltalk DigestWelcome to the June 2019 edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest.  In this exciting edition, we will talk about the following:

  • Let’s Talk about Branding Your Business
  • Celebrating the Birth of Cincom Smalltalk, Part 2
  • Hidden Gems Screencast: Cincom ObjectStudio’s Next Generation User Interface
  • Cincom Smalltalk’s Carl Gundel to Speak at Seattle Meetup
  • Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager to Speak at OCJUG Meetup
  • Opportunities to Network with Smalltalkers and Programmers
  • Helpful Customer Links and Information
  • Popular Product Resources

Let’s Talk about Branding Your Business

Let me formally introduce myself.  My name is Jeremy Jordan, and I’m the person who publishes this newsletter each month.  Although you can see my name as the publisher on our website, I’m usually the guy behind the scenes working with the rest of the dedicated Cincom Smalltalk Team.  As the Sr. Marketing Manager for Cincom Smalltalk, it’s my job to make sure our messaging is constant and consistent and that we are communicating to our customers, partners and users in ways that make sense to them.  I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills with marketing and messaging and realize that many of you may be in the same boat. I also know that some of you are the users of the products, and maybe you’re looking for ways to communicate with your manager or management about or regarding Smalltalk. Also, if you’re building your business, with Smalltalk, you also want to know how to share value with your prospects and customers.

So, let’s talk marketing!

Moving forward, I’ll be sharing some insight from various resources and articles that I come across from day to day.  I’ve even created a new Twitter account (@smalltalkmktg). Here, I’ll be tweeting and retweeting things I come across that might be interesting to you, from a marketing perspective. Why is this important, you ask? Regardless of whether you are providing an application or service, consulting or are a one-man shop running all aspects of your business, we are all in marketing AND sales. Whether you know it or not, anything and everything we do, we’re marketing and selling.  

As my first article in this series, I want to talk a little bit about branding and why it’s important.  Cincom has successfully developed and sold software for over 50 years, and more specifically (as we highlight below), has been a leading provider of commercial Smalltalk for over 20 years. There’s value in not just using Smalltalk for your application development needs, but doing so with the power of the Cincom brand at your side.

How are you branding yourself and your company?  If you are a start-up or small to medium-sized business, what are you doing to promote your brand?

Unfortunately, oftentimes branding is the thing most overlooked. That’s why I want to reintroduce the Cincom Smalltalk Partner Promotion Program and extend this offer to our current customers and partners.  We’d love to assist in helping you to market your applications. Oh, and here’s the best part … it’s FREE! This assistance is being offered as a free service in an effort to help customers and partners grow their brands and increase the usage of their Cincom Smalltalk applications.

  • Click here for more information about partnering with Cincom to build your brand.

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

So maybe you aren’t a Cincom Smalltalk customer but you want to take advantage of this program.  What do you do? Try the REV Program! This quick, easy way to partner with us and grow your business only costs $500 and is a great investment that could pay big dividends as you grow your business. Don’t let another day go by. Let’s grow your business together and take your passion to the next level. Join the REV program today.

Since starting this program, we’ve been able to assist many Smalltalk users to better understand their market and their audience, how to present to their prospects, and so much more. 

Celebrating the Birth of Cincom Smalltalk, Part 2

Do you remember 1999? Were you still in grade school?  College?  Perhaps you were already working at Cincom. As you reflect back to your personal journey in 1999, let us take you on a journey of two products that eventually found their way to the doorstep of Cincom Systems, Inc.

Later this year, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Cincom Smalltalk here at Cincom. Although our beloved object-oriented programming language has been around since before 1970, it wasn’t until late 1999 that Cincom brought ObjectStudio and VisualWorks together under the umbrella of Cincom Smalltalk. To read more about the early years of Smalltalk that we wrote about last month, click here.

The Dramatic Birth of ObjectStudio

The year 1989 was a significant year in world history, with several important and memorable things that would impact our global society. In March of that year, the super-tanker, Exxon Valdez, ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, causing the worst oil spill in US history. In April, US troops brought down the Noriega regime in Panama, and later that year the tragic events in Tiananmen Square, China took place. Besides these, additional social and political events were spawning all over Europe as the winds of change and reform were blowing across the continent.

October of that year had some notable events, namely the 6.9 major earthquake that hit in San Francisco during Game 3 of the World Series. Across the pond, among the political change happening in Europe, the predecessor of ObjectStudio was born.  Here is that story:

HSA (Hollandse Signaalapparaten, the military division of Philips) was developing complex decision support systems for the navies around the world. The general name for that kind of system was C3I (Command Control Communications Intelligence). C3I supported decision-making for the usage of weapons like missiles, guns and torpedoes, based on information achieved and filtered from radar and sonar sensors, as well as optical devices. These systems were huge and complex, the software was tailor-made and all the components were assembled on one platform like frigates and corvettes. Around 1985, HSA decided to consider the possibility to also develop C3I-systems for the army.

In contrast to the navy, the army had a great number of platforms. An artillery observer and radio telegrapher formed one platform. With a military map, binoculars and a measurement device, the observer would make crucial decisions and send that information to other groups.  Jeeps, tanks and other vehicles in a command center were considered another platform. The army had, until now, very little experience with computerized decision support systems. Of course there were written procedures to coordinate the actions. However, to achieve this type of procedure on a computer, a development system was needed that made interactive prototyping possible.  This would ultimately allow an efficient decision support system to become a reality.  The development system must be created with the newest generation of PCs having sufficient speed and memory and an operating system that supports multi-programming with a generally accepted graphical user interface (GUI).

In 1987, there was an announcement by Microsoft and IBM of a multi-programming operating system (OS/2) that included a GUI called Presentation Manager. This seemed to conform with the required preconditions.

A software company named ENFIN already had a working knowledge of these types of requirements. A trial demonstrating an Artillery Planning System proved the possibilities of their existing software. Instead of the calculated 4000 man-hours, the trial only took 1000 man-hours.  This led to a joint venture between HSA and ENFIN, aiming to transform all the software within the OS/2 and Presentation Environment to Smalltalk. As a control, the whole development requirements were defined for four decision support prototypes.

Near the end of 1989 at a computer exhibition in Vienna, the first Smalltalk-based prototype application was shown.  This prototype was not yet based on OS/2 and the Presentation Manager.  Similarly, a frequency management system was presented in Berne, Switzerland a few days later.

Then in October, SCOPE (Signaal’s Command Oriented Programming Environment) was demonstrated at the AFCEA Conference in Brussels.  This new development system, based on OS/2 and the Presentation Manager, included a number of prototypes.  Based in Smalltalk and oriented with OS/2 and Presentation Manager, SCOPE was a 4GL object-oriented development system offering a large number of services for the specification, realization and maintenance of Management Information Systems in particular.

By introducing this development system, SCOPE achieved the following:

  1. It was the first object-oriented development system on a PC.
  2. It became the first GIS (Geographical Information System) on a PC.
  3. The positive effects of EPM (Evolutionary Prototyping Method) combined with the EPIS (Evolutionary Procurement of Information Systems) methodology was proven (EPIS ’90 symposium in The Hague).
  4. The combination of Smalltalk and EPM was superior in relation to the traditional way of programming (as was usual in the military sector with a language like Ada).
  5. The notion that the military could use civil components indicated what the term COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) would become.

However, the tremendous opportunities of SCOPE were overshadowed by an enormous political event a month later. On November 9, 1989, the obligations of NATO to defend its allies against communism ended with the Berlin Wall crumbling to the ground.  Because of this, the Dutch army was no longer interested in SCOPE. It would be several years before there would be interest in a command control system again.

ObjectStudio saw a number of owners during its life cycle. After the release mentioned above, a contract was made between HSA and ENFIN to distribute the market. For HSA, they owned the rights to the military market and Philips.  ENFIN could sell the product everywhere else. 

Eventually, several mergers would give Cincom Systems, Inc. the rights for development and marketing of ObjectStudio, preceded by ENFIN, EASEL and VMARK.  Throughout its infancy, the name of the product changed often. Names like SCOPE, Enfin/2, EASY and ObjectStudio saw the light. But eventually, SCOPE became Cincom® ObjectStudio®.

To see Cincom ObjectStudio’s history in its entirety, click here.

Hidden Gems: Cincom ObjectStudio’s Next Generation User Interface

Many of the Hidden Gems try to tie together many techniques into a cohesive application.

We built a Stock domain and showed how to create it from restful, secure TLS APIs, including parsing JSON/XML data to populate it.  We also showed multiple ways to save and restore the objects, including how to build a robust application object database for series data storage and retrieval.

All of these techniques can be used with Cincom Smalltalk products including Cincom ObjectStudio and Cincom® VisualWorks®.

However, there are differences in how you build application interfaces with the two products.  A main difference is the interface.  ObjectStudio, a Windows-centric solution, has an interface library that works with native windows widgets.  VisualWorks is cross-platform and has Smalltalk-based widgets that can use native rendering for fidelity on Windows and MacOS.

Recently, we built a Stock List/Chart interface with VisualWorks, and today we’re building a Stock List/Chart interface using the ObjectStudio Next-Generation-User-Interface (NGUI).

The ObjectStudio NGUI will be enhanced with tools in the future, but you can do amazing things with it right now.

This screencast shows you how to use it and some of what it can do:

Cincom Smalltalk’s Carl Gundel to Speak at Seattle Meetup

Paige W. and Steve K. from Seattle Software Crafters will be hosting a meetup at CDK Global in Seattle, Washington on July 25th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Seattle meetups take place the 4thThursday of each month, and the July meetup will feature Cincom Smalltalk Engineer and longtime Smalltalk expert, Carl Gundel, who will bring you up to speed on the language, what it is and what makes it special. Carl will also discuss other topics such as:

  • Why he chose Smalltalk coming from C and Forth
  • A Smalltalk-based prototype for the Defense Nuclear Agency of the U.S. military
  • Programming language implementation in Smalltalk
  • Interactive web programming using Smalltalk
  • Using Smalltalk as a prototyping and design tool for a smart network security administration tool
  • … And more

Cincom Smalltalk Program Director and Engineering Manager, Suzanne Fortman, will also be available to discuss the Smalltalk community, partner solutions, various Cincom Smalltalk partner programs and the business side of making great software.

Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager to Speak at OCJUG Meetup

Arden Thomas will be speaking at the Orange County Java User Group (OCJUG) meetup in Irvine, CA on September 11.  This meetup presents opportunities for networking and features presentations on some topics of interest to Java developers. Anyone who is interested in Java development and Smalltalk should consider attending.

Arden will be discussing:

  • Smalltalk
    • What is it?
    • Who uses it?
    • How is it different?
    • Why should you care?
    • Examples

and includes:

  • The principles of the Smalltalk language
  • A brief introduction to Smalltalk and the benefits of knowing OO languages
  • How knowing Smalltalk can enhance your skills for any OO language
  • Some comparisons of Smalltalk to Java

Suzanne Fortman will also be there to present and represent Cincom.

We hope to see you there!

Opportunities to Network with Smalltalkers and Programmers

Along with the above meetups, there are several upcoming opportunities to meet with Smalltalkers and programmers from around the world.  These networking and learning opportunities include:

Helpful Customer Links and Information

Attention customers and partners, have you seen the Customer Portal? It has links to all the important information our partners and customers need.  Here’s a quick guide:

Popular Product Resources

Maybe you are new to Cincom Smalltalk or just need help finding something specific on our website. Here’s a quick guide to the popular resources we have available on our website: