The aim of the language was to enable people to write ALGOL-like code that ran on a small machine. It also included the string type for easier text manipulation.
SMALL was used extensively from about 1980 to 1985 at Auckland University as a programming teaching aid, and for some internal projects. Originally written to run on a Burroughs Corporation B6700 Main frame in Fortran IV, subsequently rewritten in SMALL and ported to a DEC PDP-10 Architecture (on the Operating System TOPS-10) and IBM S360 Architecture (on the Operating System VM/CMS).
About 1985, SMALL had some object-oriented features added to handle structures (that were missing from the early language), and to formalise file manipulation operations.