(VA) Smalltalk is stable and growing

One of the major concerns of former Smalltalkers or people who are not using Smalltalk is that it might be a niche technology or even a dying one.

There are many indications of the opposite:  The Smalltalk Community is neither dying nor going to go away any time soon. The latest piece of information on the topic comes from Mike Taylor, CEO of Instantiations, the company that sells VA Smalltalk.

In a recent mailing to customers, prospects and partners, he writes:

I’m very happy to bring you a bit of good news in what, for many people and companies, has been a tough year. In the midst of “choppy” economic waters, VA Smalltalk™ (VAST) had a very good year in 2009. VAST’s robust year-over-year growth continues and the user community has increased significantly.

The complete text has also been posted to the VAST Support Forum.

My personal view is that growth in the Smalltalk world comes from two different sources

  • Projects reviving after a long and dark time of being “almost dropped” and about to be replaced by new systems lead to increasing sales of  Smalltalk IDE licenses. These projects keep my company (and others) quite busy these days
  • Increasing interest in dynamic languages like Ruby, Groovy or Smalltalk bring in fresh blood into open-source initiatives like Seaside, Squeak, Pharo, Gnu Smalltalk and also into the quite new market of non-commercial licenses of commercial Smalltalk IDEs like Gemstone, VisualWorks, WebVelocity, VA Smalltalk. This is a market that currently does not wash lots of money into the Smalltalk market, but fresh blood. Which, in turn, might bring the bucks in later, like a Startup that uses a free Gemstone Installation for a few years and upgrades to a full license once they make real money…

There are quite some projects looking into and using Seaside for web development, either in webifying existing in-house applications or for new applications.

The other Smalltalk vendors, mainly Cincom and Gemstone, also keep telling us about their success in getting their products into the market, not only in 2009, but also the years before.

We’re not taking over the IT market any time soon, but we’re a crowd that’s here to stay 😉

5 thoughts on “(VA) Smalltalk is stable and growing

  1. I just can say, I’m currently figuring out whether to use Seaside/Smalltalk or Rails/Ruby for an important migration of some software into the “web”.

    The only “wish” I had would be an easy pricing model to use Cincom and Gemstone, but it’s not that easy. That’s a pitty….

    1. Friedrich,

      there’s also VA Smalltalk with a very simple pricing model: buy a licence per developer for a fixed price and use it as long as you want, deploy on as many machines as you want. The licence includes one year of support, which you can choose to renew every year, but don’t have to. If you do, all product upgrades are free and you have an unlimited number of email Support request. It’s that simple.

      I’m happy to discuss details with you if you are interested, since we are the German reseller of VA Smalltalk…

      In case of Gemstone, I think the pricing model is fair, you can use it for free within certain CPU and RAM restrictions, which should be fair enough for a startup. Once you need more data and/or CPU power, you’ll pay about 7000 USD per year. If you need LOADS of power, you’ll pay more, I must admit. But hey, if 4GB of memory and 1 CPU (which is the limits of the free GLASS edition) is not enough for your application, and if 7000 USD per year is too much, it’s time to think about your business model.

      I haven’t checked the pricing model of WebVelocity yet, which might be an alternative for your needs…

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