Disagreeing with my earlier post, Kurt Schrader says no, Seaside doesn't have a marketing problem. Seaside has a WTF problem.
Smalltalk is, at least in the case of Squeak, a whole different world. You have to unlearn a lot of what you know in order to use it. Editing is different, class creation is different, version control is different. Basically everything you know as a programmer gets thrown out the window.
You can't edit it with vi or emacs; you don't do source control with svn; everything's weird and new.
Kurt says most people never get past this hump. He says the few who do see the light; they return to other languages certain they've glimpsed a new world, a plane beyond. I agree with him there.
But I have to disagree with Kurt's claim that Seaside doesn't have a marketing problem. I don't think anything he said was wrong. I just want a broader use of the term "marketing."
The entire Ruby on Rails phenomenon constitues a powerful and compelling argument that building low barriers to adoption into a system is a very effective marketing move.
I recently tried to get the Rails core team to switch the for loops in the scaffolding templates to iterators, on the grounds that this would encourage new Rails programmers to use iterators instead of repeating their bad old habits with for loops. I failed completely. Josh Susser said that replacing for loops with iterators would set up a barrier to adoption for new Rails programmers, and that was that. The idea didn't fly for a second.
Low barriers to adoption are an explicit strategy in Rails, and part of the reason for its success. This strategy is a marketing strategy. Realistically, if you're doing trivial tasks in Ruby, the difference between a for loop and an iterator is very slight. There is no technological benefit or loss here; it's purely a question of how people feel about it. A PHP programmer sees a for loop, they feel comfortable; they see an iterator, they're puzzled. A tiny difference, but that's the decision the team made. The scaffolding templates use for loops for purposes of marketing. It's a move designed to expand the user base.
Seaside has a marketing problem, because Smalltalk has a marketing problem. It's a marketing problem built into the technology. This is why Avi Bryant's idea of a GemStone Ruby VM offering persistence for Web apps is a good idea. With Ruby you've basically got people programming in Smalltalk already.