In the Fantom Programming Language forums there’s a thread on building a business on an esoteric language. The opening message is the kind of “thinking” (for want of a better term) that just drives me nuts.
“Hi all, this might not be like the normal discussions around here. I myself thought of Fantom as a beautiful language, yet wouldn’t building a business on top of an “obscure” language like this would be pretty hard and disadvantageous? Mostly when hiring programmers?”
I posted an answer in the thread, but I thought I’d post (largely) the same answer here:
Each language I’ve named above has at one point or another (some of them right now) been accused of being an “esoteric” programming language. Each of these languages has had (wannabe) pundits claiming that basing a business off of them would be a Bad Idea™ for Good Reasons™ including, but not limited to:
- Difficult to hire programmers.
- Difficult to get support.
- What happens if the vendor/creator/whatever stops working on the language?
- No surrounding ecosystem to filch code from.
Yet each language I’ve named above has multi-million to multi-billion dollar businesses based upon them.
The conclusion is simple: never base your business decisions upon the yammering of wannabe pundits. Analyze your needs, your resources and the capabilities of your possible tools. Sometimes this does, in fact, mean you won’t be using an “esoteric” programming language, but more often than not, if you do a decent analysis, you might find your “esoteric” programming language is a competitive edge.