The language was first generally released as Smalltalk-80. Smalltalk-like languages are in continuing active development, and have gathered loyal communities of users around them. ANSI Smalltalk was ratified in 1998 and represents the standard version of Smalltalk.
There are a large number of Smalltalk variants. The unqualified word Smalltalk is often used to indicate the Smalltalk-80 language, the first version to be made publicly available and created in 1980.
Smalltalk was the product of research led by Alan Kay at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC); Alan Kay designed most of the early Smalltalk versions, which Dan Ingalls implemented. The first version, known as Smalltalk-71, was created by Ingalls in a few mornings on a bet that a programming language based on the idea of message passing inspired by Simula could be implemented in "a page of code." A later variant actually used for research work is now known as Smalltalk-72 and influenced the development of the Actor model. Its syntax and execution model were very different from modern Smalltalk variants.
After significant revisions which froze some aspects of execution semantics to gain performance (by adopting a Simula-like class inheritance model of execution), Smalltalk-76 was created. This system had a development environment featuring most of the now familiar tools, including a class library code browser/editor. Smalltalk-80 added metaclasses, to help maintain the "everything is an object" (except private instance variables) paradigm by... [continues]
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