Serious projects in Smalltalk have been developed and successfully deployed in banks, Wall Street, insurance companies and many, many more domains. Such serious, industrial strength systems have been mostly programmed in VisualWorks Smalltalk and IBM Visual Age Smalltalk (now Instantiations' VA Smalltalk). Both of these are alive, evolving and doing well.
I've always considered Squeak and Pharo to be lesser Smalltalks for business purposes. Although, Pharo is evolving nicely.
The biggest single issue I have with Smalltalk is it's lack of a true multi-cpu capable VM. Today's multi-CPU, multi-core and multi-threading capable servers must be leveraged by Smalltalk, if it is ever to grow on the server-side. My biggest hope, so far, is that EssenceSharp (https://essencesharp.wordpress.com/ ) evolves. It is the only Smalltalk, besides Gemstone, that can utilize multiple CPUs. It runs Smalltalk code on top of Microsoft's .NET, but currently lacks all the Smalltalk IDE tools we love. Develop on VisualWorks or Pharo, then migrate your code to EssenceSharp on top of .NET. Migration utilities are provided. If EssenceSharp was evolved, it would be a killer development environment, especially now that Microsoft has open-sourced .NET and is porting it to OS/X and Linux. Gemstone has potential, but their license costs are far to expensive so hinders it's deployment for larger scale projects. EssenseSharp would be more accepted by IT departments and uses much less RAM and CPU resources.
As I've sold custom development projects over the last two decades+, I've found that IT departments want to use technology that's buzz-word compliant. Today, they want "Java" or ".NET" for their platform. EssenceSharp solves this issue for Smalltalk, as it plays nice with .NET.
I would love to start/lead/participate with a rally of Smalltalkers wanting to evolve EssenceSharp for server-side development and use Amber for the client-side Smalltalk. Anyone interested?
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