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Copyright 2011-2015 Nicolas Petton

Copyright 2014-2017 Herbert Vojčík and Amber contributors

Amber is an implementation of the Smalltalk language that runs on top of the JavaScript runtime. It is designed to make client-side development faster and easier.

Try Amber online and learn more on project page.


Amber is written in itself, including the parser and compiler. Amber compiles into efficient JavaScript, mapping one-to-one with the equivalent JavaScript. There is no interpretation at runtime.

Some highlights:

  • Amber features an IDE with a Class browser, Workspace, Transcript, a ReferencesBrowser supporting senders/implementors and class references, basic Inspector and even a beginning of a Debugger and a unit TestRunner.
  • Pharo Smalltalk is considered as the reference implementation.
  • Amber is extendable with libraries, installable preferably via bower:
    • amber-contrib-web with a canvas to generate HTML, like Seaside, included in a new project by default,
    • silk with a stream-like wrapping of DOM elements, included in a new project by default,
    • helios IDE, included in a new project by default,
    • amber-contrib-legacy with smaller in-page "classic" IDE and some miscellany, included in a new project by default,
    • trysmalltalk, containing Prof Stef interactive crash course.
    • and others. You can easily write an Amber library yourself.
  • Amber can use Javascript libraries; the "classic" IDE as well as Helios are built on jQuery
  • You can inline Javascript code and there are many ways to interact between Amber and Javascript


Amber cli tool to create new projects and assist with development tasks is in a npm package amber-cli. Amber engine and core library to be used in projects is in a bower package amber.

For the installation to work, you need to have installed node, npm and git. Default node installers may install npm as well. To have git in Windows, use Git for Windows and select "Run Git from Windows Command Prompt" and "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style" installation options.

For UNIX-based OS (Linux distibutions, FreeBSD, ...) do

npm config set prefix=~/npm
export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/npm/bin"

to have the installation in a local subdirectory in order to avoid the otherwise necessary sudo installation of Amber. The export line needs to be added to the ~/.profile file as well so that after a new login the path is set.

Getting Amber and setting up an initial project

Do this to install Amber

# Install the CLI tool `amber-cli` and supporting tools
npm install -g grunt-cli grunt-init bower amber-cli

Use amber init to create a project of your own

# Initialize your project (directory must be empty)
cd /path/to/myproject
amber init

# (optional) Install backward compatibility
bower install amber-compat-es5 --save   # be loadable in older browsers

Start developing in Amber Smalltalk

# Serve amber on localhost:4000
amber serve

In case something fails...

Please refer to for further details.

Developing Amber

Please refer to for further details. It explains the Amber development setup and how to contribute.


Amber is released under the MIT license. All contributions made for inclusion are considered to be under MIT.