The Rejuvenation of Squeak

Richard Kenneth Eng
2 min readJan 5, 2023

I am gratified to see the publication of a new edition of Squeak by Example, an excellent book on a nice, friendly flavour of Smalltalk introduced in 1996. The book is now in 6.0 Edition, published in July of 2023, and can be downloaded from here.

While I appreciate the innovative progress of Pharo, I’ve always liked the simplicity of Squeak. It’s great for beginners and students, as well as hobbyists. It enjoys some industrial usage (a good example is SageTea) but it is primarily aimed at academia and education.

In fact, moving forward, I’m planning to spend a lot more time with Squeak instead of Pharo. Its simplicity and stability are just too compelling to pass up.

Historically, Squeak was used to develop three very impressive projects:

  1. Croquet, a virtual reality platform. It evolved into Qwaq which became the foundation for 3D Immersive Collaboration. It also led to Croquet OS, a metaverse development platform.
  2. Scratch, a visual programming tool for teaching programming to children. It was eventually re-implemented in JavaScript to become MIT Scratch.
  3. Seaside, a sophisticated web framework for server applications.

In fact, 15 years ago, I used Squeak and Seaside to develop a web server application for a prominent Ontario psychotherapist to perform online therapy. That was my very first introduction to Smalltalk which says a lot!

Just today, I downloaded and installed Squeak 6.0 on my Windows 10 PC. Wow! Squeak has come a long way since 2007. The UI has become much more polished. Installation is a breeze, like falling off a log.

NostraEngus says, “Squeak has a bright future.”