Turbo Pascal Rides Again


Many years ago, I used to be the Editor of a glossly monthly magazine aimed at professional computer programmers.   At the time, there was at least half a dozen such magazines in existence, but now there are none.  At least, not in printed form.  It's easy to assume that the internet is what killed off such magazines.  After all, why wait 6 months for a particular how-to article to be published when you can simply search for your required information on Lycos, Altavista, Gopher or, in the latter days, Google and Bing?

But there were actually 2 nails in the coffin of magazines aimed at programmers and the internet was just one of them.  Magazines survive by selling advertising space to relevant companies, and as Microsoft came to dominate the market there were fewer and fewer other companies left for whom such magazines were the place to be seen.

Back in the day, one of Microsoft's biggest competitors was Borland with its Turbo Pascal language.  Those who used it generally thought it was wonderful.  Personally I was more of a Visual Basic fan.  But if you remember Turbo Pascal and fancy trying it out again, you can.  And all without downloading or installing anything.  All you need is a web browser.

Head to http://www.teamten.com/lawrence/projects/turbo_pascal_compiler/demo/ to get started, and operate the system by pressing a key corresponding to one of the yellow letters on the screen.  If you've never written in TP before, start by choosing D to see a directory listing of programs available, then press W and type in the name of the program you want to load.  Then press R to run it.

Ah, the good old days.



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I think I may have started with Turbo Pascal v2.0 in the mid-'80s. I kept with it through v6.0, which introduced me to a lot of OOP concepts. Around that time, I started learning C and Windows for my job. When I then moved on to project that used C++ and Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC), the OOP grounding I got from Turbo Pascal v6.0 really helped me compartmentalize which bits were generic OOP, which were C++, which were Windows and which were MFC.

I had a colleague who was learning C++, Windows programming and MFC all at the same time, and he had a very difficult time teasing out one from another. He did eventually learn to recognize the seams between them.

I started with a Visual Basic game on a Commodore Pet, but (very) soon graduated to a PC, Turbo Pascal, and .Exe magazine. I've never looked back since! :-)

Started of on Turbo Pascal 3.0 back in the day, in 1990 I think. Continued on to Delphi until the market fell in my country. So moved over to .NET. Still love Delphi though. Lazarus continued the old Delphi 7 interface but the new Embarcadero moved over to RadStudio (currently in XE 7 version - recently released) which is very similar to Visual Studio. Note that there is now a free version of RadStudio called AppMethod (current version 1.15) - it unfortunately only support Delphi (or Object Pascal) for 30 days. The Objective C++ for Android and Windows 32/64 is free though. Looking at that to try and get my first Android app out there...

I loved Turbo Pascal and Turbo C++. Back in the day they were the best on the market.

The modern, open-source successor to Turbo Pascal - and Delphi - is Free Pascal along with the Lazarus IDE. Really good for cross-platform development, and just seems to keep getting better.


The version shown looks like Turbo Pascal 3 : the much-improved version 5.5 can be downloaded here :- http://edn.embarcadero.com/article/20803