The Java Virtual Machine, derived from the enterprise-staple Java platform, has become home to a host of different languages these days. But it's not only Python and Ruby that have found their way onto the JVM. Smalltalk is making its way there, too.
With open source Redline Smalltalk, developer James Ladd looks to differentiate from other Smalltalk efforts on the JVM, such as Bistro and Smalltalk/JVM. Redline Smalltalk, he said, goes from Smalltalk source code to directly generating and executing JVM byte code at runtime. "With Redline, there is no separate compile cycle as there is with the Java language," Ladd said in an email. "You can also integrate at the byte code level with any other code on the JVM. Eventually, all that you expect from a Smalltalk will be supported by Redline."
Ladd, who hopes to release a 1.0 version of Redline Smalltalk later this year, has high praise for the JVM. "The Java Virtual Machine is an impressive platform that is continuously being enhanced to run faster and to support more dynamic languages, like Python (Jython), Ruby (jRuby), Lisp (Clojure) and now Smalltalk," he said. "The ecosystem/tooling and community around the JVM make it an ideal target for systems, and for a large majority of enterprises, it is the de facto standard."
Smalltalk is picking up backers elsewhere. Retired developer Richard Eng said his recently published essay promoting the language, "The Smalltalk Revolution," picked up 12,000 views in four days. Eng, too, sees a place for Smalltalk on the JVM. "Smalltalk on the JVM can offer the enterprise the capability to write their applications quickly and productively and still enjoy the benefits of the JVM," Eng said in an email. "Smalltalk is far superior to Java in terms of programming ease and productivity."