Author Topic: Why Pascal?  (Read 17817 times)


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Why Pascal?
« on: April 06, 2018, 01:16:11 am »
Sometimes when I talk about my interest in Pascal (and I still know next to nothing about it, having only read Tao Yue's tutorial for super-n00bs) I get some pushback about why I'm not learning a hipper language like Ruby or Python.

I don't really have a good answer to that... I think possibly the main reason I care about Pascal is because we had a TI 99/4A when I was a kid, and once you had graduated from its built-in TI BASIC and have thereafter mastered Exended BASIC (if you were lucky like I was to score EB from your parents), the next step up would have been UCSD Pascal; which, alas, I never did score.

Also about eight years ago I was trying to get into Macintosh programming for the classic OS (I had a PowerBook G3 with OS 9.2.2 and managed to install MPW; I wanted to use it for C programming (yes I know Classic Mac OS is not an ideal C-programming platform!) and something in the doco said "uses Pascal-style function calls" which left me thinking, oh, great, now I have to learn Pascal on top of it all).

Those weird little things combined with the mere fact that Pascal was a major, well-known programming language for such a long time, even though it's (reportedly) not the wave of the future, keep Pascal on my road map.

What's Pascal to you?


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 01:29:46 am »
What's Pascal to you?

For me, Pascal is a good way to create dynamic (shared) libraries for use on multiple platforms and with many other languages. There are not too many other languages that can do this. Typically dynamic libraries are written with C++ or C. You would not use Python or Lua (or C# or VB.NET or Java) to write a dynamic library. Maybe Swift would be in this elite group (Pascal, C++, C) someday, but not yet.

Where Pascal is not very useful is for creating the frontend to software on modern platforms (Web, mobile, macOS). In those cases it makes more sense to use languages that match up better with the target platform.

It doesn't sound like you're a programmer, so some of what I've said may not make much sense.

What are you looking at now? macOS? I would guess it might have been more than 8 years ago that you were looking at doing classic Mac app. OS X was released in 2001, I believe - that's 17 years ago when Classic started to be phased out.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 10:22:55 am »
What's Pascal to you?
In my opinion Pascal is just another programming language from a wide spectrum, with machine instructions and assembly at one extreme and Siri/Google Assistant at the other extreme.  One can construct endless arguments and comparisons between different languages to pick the "best" language.

In my case using Pascal is purely a personal preference. I learned Pascal at school (after playing with BASIC and LOGO) hence I express most of my logic straight in Pascal.  I also learned to use C when I played with Arduino & AVR controllers, but it is a constant struggle for me to translate ideas from Pascal syntax to C syntax.  In the end I can program any logic I can think of in either C or Pascal.  I am reasonably sure that if I learned C first, I would probably prefer that to Pascal.  I also did some minor work in PHP and FORTRAN, but that was because of external factors (mainly availability of specific functionality).  Note that I am not a professional programmer.

I like the Freepascal compiler because:
  • It supports a wide range of targets.
  • The online community is in general helpful and knowledgeable.
  • The development team is usually quite tolerant and entertains discussion of a wide range of topics.
  • Most bug reports are handled relatively quickly.
  • It is fast.
  • it is actively maintained and extended in terms of language features.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 01:11:09 pm »
I liked Delphi a lot, but its price was not affordable for my pocket. Then I discovered Lazarus. I think Pascal is a good language for a clear and good programming, because it was created initially for educational purposes. When I was in college, learning computer science, I saw several "dirty C programming" contests (the goal was to make a totally unintelligible C program that could do some interesting task), but no "Dirty Pascal programming" contests.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 01:17:25 pm by RayoGlauco »
To err is human, but to really mess things up, you need a computer.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 01:54:47 pm »
What's Pascal to you?
My weapon of choice when I'm not forced to use anything else specifically. One of a few language I can't have excuse like "it's compiling / building / packing / whatevershitthatmanymainstreamlanguageshave" because compilation is damn fast that compile-debug cycle has no need for interpreter (Hi, Haskell!) and release is practically a few seconds difference as opposed to minutes or hours (Long time no see, ReactJS! You again, Haskell!). All of those without any loss of performance or crazy memory hog, even deployment to server is a single static binary (not really, but at least the dependencies are usually against system level libraries, not application ones). No claim for single command installation (that does a bunch of downloading, installing, configuring, etc. that takes too long so we can go for a cup of coffee or tea and it's still not yet finished when we return) needed, because installation is not even required.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 02:05:54 pm »
Because I'm not so smart to program in C++ :)


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 02:17:06 pm »
Because I have learn Pascal in 1990, at school, and I love this language ! It is very clear to read by an human.
I've discover Lazarus 6/7 years ago, and I also discover the world of Class ! ( only procedural in 1990 )
Thanks for the Lazarus team !
fpc 3.0.4 Lazarus 1.8.0  -  AMD A8-6600K  -  Windows 10  64bits
bad english... sorry :)


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 02:44:47 pm »

The subject is very deep
Part of the language itself
Part about FPC and lazarus  team
Another part about Linux and multi - platform

By the way, this cheetah never got tired


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 02:51:26 pm »
I've always loved Pascal and have been - many years ago - a professional developer using Turbo Pascal and then Delphi. After moving into managerial roles I used Delphi and later Lazarus to write personal utility programs or even the odd small production program when the developers were too busy.

I can't think of anything you could do in C/C++ that you couldn't do in Pascal. As has been mentioned, the UI in mobile platforms is where Lazarus is weak (kudos to LAMW for pushing the boundaries), but it was never intended to be anything more than a multi-platform Delphi alternative.

Overall it's fun to program with Lazarus and the community is very supportive.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2018, 03:55:42 pm »
I discovered it thanks to Inno Setup, it mentioned "Pascal Script", so then I googled it to know a bit more. Then I'm here =)


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2018, 07:38:07 pm »
As a med student I followed an introduction course on programming in MUMPS, which was great fun.
I didn't have a PC then (hardly anyone had, they were expensive), so only later I took up programming again.
At the time I was unemployed and bored. A friend gave me a copy of Turbo Pascal 3.0 and a book on structural programming. The manual that came with TP was in Hebrew, so not helpfull at all to me.

I started to learn how to program, and I really loved the fact that Pascal in itself is a structured language (ever tried MUMPS??).
The compiler was lightning fast as well.

Later in an attempt to learn a "mature language", I tried C.
That horrified me.
I could not and still cannot get my head around it.

If you can read English, and you have some basic knowledge of logic, then you can understand a basic Pascal program, even if you never programmed in your life.
With C, I get lost after the first 2, max 3 lines of code.

So, I fell in love with Pascal long time ago, I had a fling with C and flead back.

From all this you can see I'm an amateur, and always wil be.
A pro would be able to learn C and more languages, and then choose the language that most suited the job at hand.

For what I want to do, Pascal can do what I need.
And it does that cross-platform.
To me, it's just a matter of taste.



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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 12:57:38 pm »
For me, the best high-level compiled language.  Period.

Because I'm not so smart to program in C++ :)
I was a C++ programmer but when I discovered Delphi I decided don't use C++ again in my life.  But I still like C though. ::)
Are you interested in game programming? Join the Pascal Game Development community!
Also visit the Game Development Portal


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 01:16:18 pm »
I can easily use lazarus for a cross-platform user interface and then Pascal to call existing C or even Fortran routines. Try that with C :-). I knew Pascal at the time, when i got interested in Object Oriented Programming. In order to study this, i did not have to learn another language at the same time. Lazarus and Pascal may not be ideal, but gives me the best compromise. The best choice to understand my own code years later.



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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2018, 07:41:02 pm »
What's Pascal to you?

While I favor the syntax a bit more than C syntax, the main motivation is the development experience as a whole. So language+libraries+tools. I particularly like the fact it can be used for easy to deploy basic win32/64 binaries.


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Re: Why Pascal?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2018, 11:10:16 am »
Coming from an 18-years-in-classic-visual-basic-background (no Pro though), FPC/Lazarus was the combination that appealed to me the most in terms of platform-independency/license-policy
As already mentioned: Looking at C/C++-Code i go crosseyed after 3-4 lines of code :-)

But as i stand here now, it's still a challenge to get through the differences between Freepascal and classic Visual Basic (e.g. no pointers or "real" inheritance in classic Visual Basic).

Oh, and i agree: TP3 rocked my World in 1988 when finishing High School in Germany
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