Alto System Project: Dan Ingalls demonstrates Smalltalk

This interpretive production of the Computer History Museum’s Software History Center was created from archival footage of Dan Ingalls demonstrating the Smalltalk integrated environment and object-oriented programming language on the Museum’s restored Xerox Alto computer at the Museum’s Shustek Research Archives on February 13, 2018 and June 20, 2018. The brainchild of Alan Kay’s Learning Research Group at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Smalltalk was designed to transform computers into personal dynamic media, giving users (especially children) the capability to easily build simulations and to modify the system as they saw fit. Smalltalk also pioneered aspects of modern graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and integrated development environments (IDEs): overlapping windows, popup menus, paned hierarchical class browsers, integrated debuggers, as well as the BitBLT graphics primitive routine. In this video, Ingalls repeats a demonstration that he gave to Steve Jobs, who visited PARC in 1979: making live code changes to fundamental system behavior, such as text selection highlighting and scrolling. Ingalls also shows off Smalltalk’s graphics capabilities, including turtle graphics and bitmap editing.



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