The Early History Of Smalltalk

Reading about the invention of object oriented programming feels a bit like reading about the invention of the wheel. Not that I’ve read anything about the invention of the wheel, but of course that’s because I take the wheel for granted. I guess OOP sometimes feels like the programming equivalent of the wheel: I suppose I’ve also taken object oriented programming for granted. To be reminded of the fact that someone had to sit down and develop the kernel of that idea and see it through into useable system was refreshing and a little frightening. 

An engineering education requires reading a huge amount of technical literature but very little of what’s read is a first-person historical narrative and that made reading Alan Kay’s account of Smalltalk’s development particularly engaging. A strange byproduct of the technology industry’s rapid pace of advancement is that we rarely have time or inclination to read historical technical documents. We never seem to devote time to the process of how the technologies we use were developed.