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Strongtalk is a Smalltalk environment with optional static typing support. Strongtalk can make some compile time checks, and offer "stronger" type-safety guarantees; this is the source of its name. It is non-commercial, though it was originally a commercial project developed by a small start-up company called Animorphic.


Dave Griswold wanted to use Smalltalk more extensively, but the existing implementations weren't sufficient for his needs. He wanted to improve the performance, add type-checking, and use native UI widgets.[1] His efforts resulted in the 1993 paper he co-authored with Gilad Bracha.[2] This version was based on adding type-checking to the ParcPlace Systems implementation of Smalltalk; an implementation that started from scratch would gain a better typing system.

He became interested in the improvements that the Self team had achieved, and envisioned the same techniques used to improve Smalltalk. Urs Hölzle, who worked on the powerful Self compiler, spoke with Griswold about implementing the same "type feedback" in a Smalltalk compiler. Griswold, Hölzle, and others formed a small company ("Animorphic Systems" a.k.a. "LongView Technologies") to re-implement Strongtalk. Work began in 1994 and they completed an implementation in 1996. However, the company was bought by Sun in 1997, the team got sidetracked with Java and work on Strongtalk stalled.

Sun Microsystems released Strongtalk under the "revised" BSD license, including the Strongtalk system image and the virtual machine (the VM was made open source in September 2006). Strongtalk is touted as the fastest implementation of Smalltalk[3]. Strongtalk is currently available for Windows XP (other ports are in the works) and includes a basic development environment.


  1. Strongtalk history
  2. Gilad Bracha and David Griswold (1993). "Strongtalk: Typechecking Smalltalk in a Production Environment". Proceedings of the OOPSLA'93 Conference on Object-oriented Programming Systems, Languages and Applications: 215–230. 
  3. Strongtalk's site

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