How to convince companies to try Smalltalk

Richard Kenneth Eng
2 min readJul 14, 2022

This is the basic conundrum. As good as Smalltalk is, we need a way to convince companies that know nothing about Smalltalk, or are skeptical about Smalltalk, to adopt the language.

Seeing is believing. Studies and testimonials just won’t cut it.

Therefore, the best strategy is to convince a company to try a pilot project using Smalltalk. Convince a company to invest in a pilot project. This is obviously challenging.

This is also why the success rate is so low.

A pilot project may consist of two or three company developers who spend some time learning Smalltalk programming. Then they proceed to develop the software project, something modest in size and not too time-consuming (like three to six months). This project should be familiar to the company developers so that they can gauge the relative productivity.

And, in fact, I went through this exercise about a decade and a half ago. I was actually a one-person team. I worked on a web project similar to one I had done in Python years before. My experience convinced me of the superiority of Smalltalk development.

  • I could work faster in Smalltalk thanks to live programming and live debugging.
  • I am not burdened with language quirks, which in my experience are plentiful in Python.
  • Moving away from the file-based development model feels modern and less cumbersome. Navigating long reams of code in source code files seems retrogressive.
  • Image-based development offers so many advantages such as saving and restoring my work at exactly the point where I left off in the program execution. The Smalltalk image is also portable.

All of the above saves time.


The best way to spread the goodness of Smalltalk programming is to persuade prospective corporate IT departments to try a pilot project using Smalltalk. Seeing is believing.

Experience the simplicity and elegance of the Smalltalk language.

Experience the advantages of live programming.

Experience the benefits of the image-based development model.

Enjoy the productivity boost. Get your software system deployed into production ahead of schedule and under budget.

This strategy is the best shot for Smalltalk (or any new programming language, for that matter).