You’re right, some languages are popular for their particular niches. But nearly all the major languages have grown out of their niches to become general-purpose: Java, Python, C#, C++, Ruby, Perl, etc.
Note that Haskell hasn’t. Nor has Erlang. Nor has Clojure.
Smalltalk has several key strengths:
- It’s very small, simple, and elegant. One of the cleanest language designs ever. This means extremely low, or even nonexistent, cognitive friction while using Smalltalk. People don’t realize it, but this is a huge win for programmers.
- Smalltalk is the consummate OOP language. There, I said it. No other programming language does OOP as well, and this is important because OOP is the most widely used paradigm throughout the entire IT industry. What other OOP language would you prefer? Java? C++? Scala?
- A live coding/debugging IDE and runtime that are unmatched by anything else in the modern programming world. Supremely easy to use, esp. compared to the likes of Visual Studio, Eclipse, and Xcode. This quality alone explains why…
HPE should invest in Smalltalk because it is already a widely-used enterprise programming language. It has been for over three decades. Some of its well-known users include JPMorgan, Desjardins, UBS, Florida Power & Light, Texas Instruments, Telecom Argentina, Orient Overseas Container Lines, Siemens AG, and so on. There is money to be made here because with HPE’s imprimatur, Smalltalk could make further inroads into the enterprise market. They can use the above key strengths as a huge lever to win customers.
Best of all, HPE would have this market all to themselves because Smalltalk is entirely out of mind at IBM, Dell EMC, and Microsoft. They don’t believe.