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5. How Squeak differs from other programming languages
The best likeness of Squeak would be a complete OS like Windows, with the radical differences that
- of every application one gets the full source code
- that full code is all in the same programming language and
- that same programming language was running in the OS
- that same programming language was used to write the OS
Alternatively, Squeak is like a self-contained OS with fully available code for everything it is, does, can do and displays, and that can be altered as it runs. In the terms just explained Squeak is much more like the OS Linux than like the OS Windows, but Linux is oriented around the programming language C. And the programming language C or C++ embodies a quite different conception of programming than do Smalltalk and Squeak.
Now of course Squeak is and needs to be much more simple than a complete OS like Linux, MacIntosh or Windows, running lots of applications. And in fact Squeak is 7 years old. But this also means all kinds of computations in principle accessible in ONE environment where applications are both programmed and run and all source code is constantly accessible and changeable.
Instead of working in a radically simplified environment of widgets each of which has a behavior of which you do NOT have the code and do NOT get the full explanations, and that you can only change a little, you have an environment in which you can do EVERYTHING a computer is capable of, in any way you please, only restricted by your own understanding of the environment and the programming language. What you are working with is not a set of widgets but the environment of a universal programming language, where EVERYTHING is fully given to you to understand and change it and EVERYTHING is available in that very same environment - that is the Squeak Environment.
This is also the reason that you do EVERYTHING in Squeak in the total computing environment, which has the form in Squeak of an image that is loaded by squeak.exe and that runs an environment which can be programmed with the programming language of Squeak. And the environment of Squeak is run by Classes written inside the Squeak Environment in the Squeak Language.
Apart from Smalltalk, which is a precursor of Squeak , there is no total computing environment like it - and any alternative programming language + programming environment, like C++ or C# or Delphi, is radically different, because these so-called programming environments are NOT total computing environments but are merely programming tools to write and compile programs in some OS, and indeed to write predominantly (though not necessarily) programs as collection of widgets with hidden source and limited behavior. In brief: All programming environments other than Smalltalk and Squeak and are NOT themselves total computing environments.
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