It’s worth mentioning that in the early 1990s, Smalltalk reached its peak. Smalltalk was one of the two dominant OO languages at the time. Here’s a page from Computerworld, November 6, 1995, showing Smalltalk and C++ duking it out:
In fact, according to a 1995 IDC report, OO language market shares were:
- C++ — 71.3%
- Smalltalk — 15.1%
- Objective-C — 5.7%
- OO Pascal — 4.2%
- CLOS — 2.5%
- Eiffel — 1.1%
- all others — 0.2%
IBM even chose Smalltalk for their VisualAge enterprise initiative to replace COBOL. Unfortunately, it got derailed by Java.
In those days, Smalltalk suffered from two disadvantages:
- It was very expensive. Except for Smalltalk/V, all other Smalltalk products were priced in the thousands of dollars.
- It required expensive hardware to run on because of its large footprint.
Those drawbacks were erased in the late 1990s with the advent of Squeak, an open source Smalltalk, and powerful PCs that were much more affordable.
In other words, there is absolutely no reason why Smalltalk can’t achieve popularity today. Especially with the recent introduction of Pharo which is, for all intents and purposes, a new programming language (only 9 years old).