- No package management. This is a big lose. Prepending classes with 3 letters is a band-aid. Package (namespace) management is a solved problem.
There are many other languages that don’t support separate namespaces. As it turns out, some flavours of Smalltalk do (eg, VisualWorks). You say it’s a big lose, but not every developer agrees.
- No build software. Is it even needed? What about obfuscation, signing, enhancing classes to make them persistant capable?
- The image. More downsides than upsides. How do I deploy my application?
The Smalltalk approach may not necessarily suit all purposes. I have never claimed that Smalltalk is a perfect universal programming language. Remember the adage: Always choose the right tool for the job.
There are many instances where Smalltalk is ideal, especially in the area of productivity. You say you don’t have enough experience to confirm this. That’s probably true. It takes time and practice to fully exploit any programming tool, Smalltalk included.
- Too much mouse clicking required with the IDE.
This is a matter of taste and opinion. Most Smalltalkers don’t have an issue with this. I’m perfectly fine using the Smalltalk IDE.
- Small user community
True, which is why I advocate for Smalltalk. Remember, once upon a time, Python and Ruby had small user communities, too.
- Few libraries, especially in bioinformatics
Again, true, which is why I advocate for Smalltalk. Remember, all library ecosystems have to start from zero.
- GLASS provides a nice integrated package, but you are limited to the provided implementations (Seaside and Gemstone) with no options.
If your company can benefit from GLASS, then it’s a huge win. If your company can’t, then you must look for other solutions. How is this different from other programming languages?
- Few job opportunities. Smalltalk is not mentioned in a single category in the 2018 Stack Overflow developer’s survey.
Again, true. Although, in the 2017 StackOverflow Developer Survey, Smalltalk came in at #2 behind Rust. The StackOverflow survey is rather hinkey in this respect.
I leave you with one final point. All programming languages start from zero. If you’re only going to pursue languages with the largest communities and numbers of jobs, then you will overlook many fine tools like Clojure, Crystal, Dart, Elixir, Haskell, Julia, Rust, etc.
Smalltalk is worth a second look. My educated guess is that 9 out of 10 people who try Smalltalk will love it. Apparently, you are that 1 in 10 who doesn’t, and that’s fine.