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Why Pascal?

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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?


--- Quote from: stuey on April 06, 2018, 01:16:11 am ---What's Pascal to you?

--- End quote ---

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.


--- Quote from: stuey on April 06, 2018, 01:16:11 am ---What's Pascal to you?

--- End quote ---
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.

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.


--- Quote from: stuey on April 06, 2018, 01:16:11 am ---What's Pascal to you?

--- End quote ---
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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