FAQ : 64-bit Support : Q: Why should VA Smalltalk 64-bit be important to me?
Q: Why should VA Smalltalk 64-bit be important to me?
You may have heard the buzz around 64-bit technology, but do not directly understand why this may be applicable to you.
In order to approach the answer to this, let’s define exactly what VA Smalltalk 64-bit is, and how it meaningfully differs from its 32-bit counterpart.
From a technical standpoint, the primary advantage of VA Smalltalk 64-bit is its ability to address far more memory than is possible in 32-bit. This means the size of the Smalltalk heap can be dramatically bigger and therefore support many more objects. Loosening the 32-bit restriction immediately impacts developers who are constantly running up against the 4GB barrier (in 32-bit).
Another technical advantage is that VA Smalltalk 64-bit can make external calls natively to 64-bit shared libraries. Today, some vendors only provide 64-bit shared libraries (or hobble their 32-bit libraries wih poor support.) 64-bit VAST now allows developers direct access to these, eliminating the need for complicated 32/64-bit bridging technologies.
The final point, while not a technical one, is by far the most important and compelling reason to invest in VA Smalltalk 64-bit technology. VA Smalltalk 64-bit is about protecting your investment and positioning your application for the future on a modern technology stack.
At the time of writing, 32-bit operating systems and shared libraries are in decline, and this trend will only continue. Many distributions of Linux have stopped delivering 32-bit versions. Apple has announced their plan to phase out 32-bit hardware and operating system support. Even mobile phones and hardware are going 64-bit. However, given some of these platforms will continue to allow 32-bit applications to run for the distant future, there is still the issue of 32-bit shared library support.
Those who have invested heavily in building mature enterprise-level applications using VA Smalltalk technology should explore 64-bit as they plan the evolution of their systems.
As of VA Smalltalk 9.0, the virtual machines for both 32-bit and 64-bit have been reimplemented using modern technologies, while still maintaining the original virtual machine specification (...and therefore backwards-compatibility). This usage of modern technology stacks leads to better performance and quality via up-to-date optimization techniques and ubiquitous tooling for analyzing/profiling/debugging the virtual machine.
The current specification of the virtual machine will, to the best of our ability, always remain a superset of the original virtual machine specification. However, with the release of 9.0, Instantiations is positioned to make rapid enhancements to the virtual machine -- improvements that will only be available to current versions of the product. Moving to 64-bit ensures your application is on a path to take advantage of these enhancements.
Last modified date: 09/27/2017