Dan Ingalls


Principal Investigator at Y Combinator Research, architect of 5 generations of Smalltalk


Dan Ingalls is the principal architect of five generations of Smalltalk environments. He designed the byte-coded virtual machine that made Smalltalk practical in 1976. He later conceived a Smalltalk written in itself and made portable and efficient by a Smalltalk-to-C translator, now known as the Squeak open-source Smalltalk. Dan also invented BitBlt, the general-purpose graphical operation that underlies most bitmap graphics systems today, as well as pop-up menus. His most recent work, the Lively Kernel and Lively Web, is a live graphics and programming environment that runs entirely in a browser. Able to save its results and even new versions of itself as web pages, if offers the promise that wherever there is the web there is authoring.

Dan received his B.A. in Physics from Harvard University, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He is a recipient of the ACM Grace Hopper Award, and the ACM Software Systems Award.

Dan has recently joined Y Combinator Research where he continues his work on Lively Web.

Recent Articles

Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls Jr. – Wikipedia

Recent Interviews

FLOSS Weekly 29 Dan Ingalls

The Live Web by Dan Ingalls – YOW 2011


Bit blit – Wikipedia
Lively Kernel – Home


The Live Web by Dan Ingalls – YOW 2011

YOW! 2016 Melbourne

Pronto: Toward a Live Designer’s Notebook (ECMAScript)


We will briefly demonstrate Lively Web (informally “Lively”), an archetypical live-object development system. We will discuss how its strengths (live-in-browser open-ended and self-supporting development, plus the ability to save any creation as a web page in seconds) led to an accidental misclassification of the entire system as a “web development environment”. This in turn led to a narrow view of the typical users, and a self-fulfilling agenda to serve relatively serious web programmers and programmers in general.

The original goals of the project were much broader and closer to Alan Kay’s ideal of a DynaBook, and we have begun a project named “Pronto” to re-imagine the user experience for Lively to better suit non-programmers and newbies, while also supporting the more lively touch and pen interfaces of new phones and tablets. The second part of the presentation will cover various desiderata of a dynabook appliance through discussion and demonstration.

The entire Pronto project is open-source work, as is the Lively system on which it is built, and attendees will have full access to the system for play or work, or further exploration and evolution of the tool itself.


IDE, Web Development, Live Object System, JavaScript, Serialization, WebDAV, Live Coding, Live Server Coding, Morphic, HTML, Canvas, End-User Access