Smalltalk is a dynamic, object-oriented programming language with an integrated GUI development environment and execution environment. It has a considerable following. It was developed by Alan Kay and others at Xerox PARC in the early seventies. Smalltalk is the central language of the object-oriented programming community. The fully integrated nature of Smalltalk has been both a strength and a weakness. It provides a very consistent conceptual model and look and feel across all components of the system, but this also serves to accentuate the disconnect between it and more conventional languages. This has also been observed of Lisp and APL. It has kept the Smalltalk world somewhat isolated from the rest of the application development world, although the rise of the object-oriented analysis and design, the success of C++, and the adoption of the object-oriented model as a standard for interoperability in many domains has brought Smalltalk into the mainstream in the last several years. Smalltalk's dynamic nature, and extensive GUI orientation, make it a natural for Internet programming, but the Smalltalk community has been slow to capitalize on this.
ParcPlace-Digitalk recently introduced VisualWave, which facilitates the use of Smalltalk in Web-based applications, by generating the CGI between the HTTP server and a Smalltalk application, and by generating the HTML necessary to provide a GUI for the application in conjunction with a web browser. VisualWave does not appear to include the ability to safely deliver and execute Smalltalk applets on the client platform, although the source is evidently portable, and connectivity with OLE, CORBA and Java is planned. The former is likely to result from their recent licensing of HP's Distributed Smalltalk , which adds CORBA compatibility to ParcPlace's Smalltalk. Whether the latter means the generation of Java bytecode applets from Smalltalk is not known.
IBM has announced WWW Parts for Visual Age for Smalltalk. The latter combines a visual application builder with IBM Smalltalk and SOM (and DSOM, IBM's OMG CORBA-compatible extension to SOM), to enable applications built graphically in Smalltalk to use components separately developed in other language. WWW Parts seems comparable to ParcPlace's VisualWave, described above.