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30th Anniversary of Pascal 587

GrokSoup writes "UC San Diego is holding a public symposium on Friday, October 22nd, honoring the 30th anniversary of the Pascal programming language. Oh the memories of undergraduate bubble-sorts ..."
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30th Anniversary of Pascal

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  • Loved it!!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffery ( 810339 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:40PM (#10591871)
    Loved Turbo Pascal, learned it in high school, was even remaking the first zelda on it, but was pixelizing everything, so it looked way better... sorry but that's pretty uber geek in my mind.. that was a long time ago.. this is also my first post, so i wish to formally introduce myself to the /. community!
  • by EriDay ( 679359 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:43PM (#10591921)
    After spending a few years programming in C, I took a job programming in Pascal. I figured that it was just a matter of replacing {} with begin/end, and '=' with ':='. Boy was I wrong.

    Sometimes you need a hack, and Pascal's purpose in life it to prevent those convient little hacks.
  • ah pascal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drivers ( 45076 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:44PM (#10591936)
    I always did think that Pascal's notation for pointers and dereferencing was more intuitive than C and therefore less confusing for teaching algorthms and data structures. It also didn't let you write out of bounds of arrays. Good stuff.
  • by Franciscan ( 720329 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:45PM (#10591955) Journal
    I use Pascal all day, every day. I laugh myself sick thinking how much time my C++ developer friends waste on stuff that takes days in ATL/MFC/C++ that I can do in a few seconds in Delphi. DCOM servers, GUI programming, reusable components, these are all a pain in the butt with C++. Okay, C# and Dotnet are almost as powerful as Delphi, but they have a huge runtime (like java). For my money, nothing can touch Delphi/ObjectPascal/VCL for efficiency, productivity, quality, easy deployability with NO DLL HELL and no runtime installation issues.
    (P.S. I never ever shipped any app with the BDE in it. That, and the Database Desktop, are the crappiest things ever to come out of Borland. They are still in the latest native Win32 version of Delphi, Delphi 7, but at least you don't ever have to use them.)
  • So cool... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:47PM (#10591984) Homepage Journal
    UCSD Pascal (not the first Pascal, mind you) was such an utterly cool system. It was my first real language. (I knew Applesoft BASIC and assembly, but...) I learned it in 1984 as a sophmore at UCSD.

    Way, way ahead of its time. It was an IDE and the code it generated was bytecode, not native code. I love hearing all the Java weenies talk like the Java VM is somehow a "new" concept when P-code was availble for a real language in the early eighties.

    I wrote a "conquer the galaxy" game in UCSD Pascal when I was 19. Such fun, dealing with overlays to fit it in the 64k of my Apple ][+. I never sold it, alas, so dreams of become a rich game programmer never panned out.

    It's also had the last IDE I actually liked.

    Unfortunately for UCSD, they priced it too high, and Phillipe Kahn came in and stole the PC Pascal market. Of course, the grad students who actually designed and wrote the system never saw a penny.

  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:47PM (#10591986) Homepage
    "Honinbo Warrior" was written on my Apple II (serial number 71) using UCSD - a very civilized programming environment indeed.

    The Apple II also had a fairly good interpreted Lisp (Pegasis Lisp) that I used a lot way back then. The Lisa editor/macro asembler was also great (as long as I am getting nostalgic, what about Bill Budge's great 3D library for the Apple II).
  • Pascal was great... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by disbaldman ( 804041 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:53PM (#10592060)
    Pascal was great during the early 90s... It brings back memories of BBSes with 300-2400 bauders. Back then, this language was probably the most popular structured language. Many free and commercial BBS programs and doors were created using Pascal, using the free DDPLUS door kit for 7.0. So it wasn't just used for bubblesorts, it drove much of the BBS community!
  • Memories Indeed! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:55PM (#10592090) Homepage
    Back in the 80s for me it was Turbo Pascal, originally a $39.95 wonder-package on a single 5-inch floppy. Compiled a whopping 7000 lines a minute on my 2Mhz 8080.

    My never-ending project to simulate a D&D world led me to explore the mysteries of virtual method tables, linked lists, B-trees, and that other structure -- a mesh of nodes without a head -- what was it called?

    My favorite TP achievement was a homegrown BBS that I ran for 2 years on my 1200-baud modem. I had no hard drive, just two 360K floppy drives. So the system and programs were on one and the msg files were on the other. There were 10 message boards. I gave some users sysop privs on individual boards. Three of them ran RPGs -- AD&D, Traveller and Robotech -- one woman ran hers as an adults-only hot tub/bar. Eventually I wrote an adventure game parser as a unit that would plug into the BBS. I only created one game for it, but many people played it through to the end and commented on it. Good memories of the pre-web era.
  • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:56PM (#10592109) Journal
    ...until I tried the Pascal family of languages (Modula-2 actually). The strictness imposed by Pascal and its decendents really forces you to think carefully about what it is you're trying to code. Most of my early C programs worked by luck rather than design and would produce pages of warnings on compilation. After learning a bit of Modula-2, I became a much better C programmer (and programmer in general). Many years later I had to program in Turbo Pascal 7.0 (a predecessor of Delphi) and found it very pleasant (despite DOS and Windows). Pascal has come on a long way in 30 years and spawned Delphi, Modula-* and Oberon-*. They're well worth investigating.
  • by hh1000 ( 303370 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:59PM (#10592149)
    Delphi Rocks! But Borland's managment just doesn't seem to get it. Go over to the Borland news server and there is a sense of misery and frustration over the way Borland handles this product and it's sibling Kylix.
  • by Poseidon88 ( 791279 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:02PM (#10592193)
    It depends on what you want to learn. If you just want to learn how to program, then something like Pascal might be a good place to start. My problem with it is that I didn't really understand a lot of what I was doing in Pascal. I had only a weak grasp on the concept of a pointer until I took a class in computer architecture and did some assembly programming on a VAX. A language like C is much closer to the hardware level, and while that makes it much easier to do something wrong and stupid, it also means that you learn a lot more about what is going on under the hood.
  • by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:02PM (#10592196) Homepage Journal
    I learned Modula-2 before I learned C, on my Atari ST. It was an excellent little language. I remember that I used to have to swap floppies in the middle of every compile so the last stages of the compiler could be loaded.
  • by kompiluj ( 677438 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:03PM (#10592216)
    What was at first the so called BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) by Bill Joy? Essentialy it was a Pascal Development System for UNIX bundled with UNIX itself. The improvements in UNIX were made by Joy in order to have an easy to use Pascal system. Don't believe? Look here [].
    Well Pascal was at that time really important.
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:07PM (#10592260)
    Yes Delphi rocks. It's another one of those great technologies that should have ruled the world but didn't.

    FYI there are attempts to make an open source version of it using freepascal. I have never tried them but I'd be interested in the experiences of anybody who has.
  • by Hugonz ( 20064 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:07PM (#10592262) Homepage
    I believe they should be using Python for teaching now. It is not masochistic and frustrating like some of the "professional" languages. You can learn procedural or OOP with it. It comes with very good documentation. It is available in Windows, unices and the Mac. It is very complete, with bindings and libs to do almost anything. It is not too verbose and strict (I'm thinking Java here)

    Pity they're going with Java for beginners nowadays...

  • Pascal... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:08PM (#10592268)
    It's unfortunate that Pascal gave type safety such a bad name: the language, as it was usually used for teaching, had such limited functionality and imposed such a straight-jacket on people that several generations of programmers thought type-safety made languages useless and that they needed to use something as unsafe as C to get any work done.

    Yet, commercial implementations of Pascal were in pretty common use, had all the low-level facilities of C, and yet gave programmers a decent amount of type safety and runtime error checking. In fact, a lot of the early Macintosh software was written in ObjectPascal, and TurboPascal was very popular and very useful on the PC. Even the Apple II ran a pretty good Pascal development environment (in 64k of memory), with a decent screen oriented editor, menu bars, and an integrated compile/edit/run/debug system. Pascal syntax also was quite a bit less error prone than C/C++'s. Having pointer dereferencing be a postfix operator alone is just so much more sensible.

    Perhaps much more interesting than Pascal, historically, are Algol-60, Simula-67, and Algol-68, which are related to it; Pascal was probably never intended to compete with them, but rather serve as an educational introduction to them and their successors. Around the same time, many fundamental ideas in programming languages were developed and implemented, including APL, Lisp 1.5, Snobol, PL/I, Smalltalk, and Prolog. Window systems, GUI toolkits, constraint-based programming, MVC, and other concepts we take for granted today followed shortly thereafter.
  • by FireAtWill ( 559444 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:08PM (#10592270)
    One of the thing I like the most about Borland's Delphi is that its Object Pascal allows you to be procedure or object oriented. It also has the best IDEs around, and allows you to do anything you want (web services, device drivers, console apps, database apps, office tools, servers, clients, etc, etc, etc). Truely a Swiss army knife.
  • by Kr3m3Puff ( 413047 ) * <me.kitsonkelly@com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:08PM (#10592273) Homepage Journal
    I agree about the showing off to VB and C++ developers that have to deal with MS crap... I can run circles around them, and I use Delphi just for personal coding.

    I also agree BDE SUCKS, I have long used Allround Automations Direct Oracle Access [] for database access. That rocks, fully integrating the OCI drivers easily into your application and it there is a Kylix and Delphi version as well as I am sure a .NET version won't be too far behind for Delphi 2005.
  • by BrakesForElves ( 806095 ) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#10592421) Homepage
    IMO: C surpassed Pascal because:

    1) It's much easier to write a C compiler than a Pascal compiler, therefore the (early) availability of the C language on new platforms became a near certainty.

    2) It didn't take project and product managers long to realize that in the era of Moore's Law, platform flexibility had great value. A project stuck on an obsolete platform due to the unavailability of its language on a revolutionary new platform was doomed, perhaps prematurely.

    So its portability and ubiquity were C's most significant advantages over Pascal, back when there was a realistic contest.

    3) For a time, executables written in C were likely to be considerably faster than those written in Pascal. This was a byproduct of the re-use of the C compiler code itself, versus fresh (read: immature) attempts at Pascal compilers. The C compiler cores got better with each processor port, but the freshly-written Pascal compilers often were not very good.

    Today on the x86 platform with Borland's highly-refined 8th-generation compiler core, executables built from well-written Pascal are as fast as those built from coherently-written C, in my experience. It may be possible to write incredibly concise C that'll be a hair faster than the same thing written in Pascal, but arguing that difference is a fool's errand in the days of 4GHz rocket-ship machines executing septillions of NOPs waiting for something to do.

    Personally, I choose Delphi these days over C, because I write and support huge projects. It is incredibly easy to pick up Pascal source and quickly figure out exactly what it does. That's the first (and most crucial) step in any software maintenance, and I find that Pascal's support cost savings more than over-balance any possible advantages I've ever realized from using C. When I'm writing something that needs to be extremely fast, I drop into inline assembly, but everything else I code in Delphi these days.

  • Re:So cool... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:23PM (#10592445)
    > I wrote a "conquer the galaxy" game in UCSD Pascal when I was 19. Such fun, dealing with overlays to fit it in the 64k of my Apple ][+. I never sold it, alas, so dreams of become a rich game programmer never panned out.

    At least one guy did. Wizardry was done in UCSD Pascal. Even in 1980, it surprised the hell out of me to see a commercial game done like that.

  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:26PM (#10592469) Homepage
    The original MacApp framework, in the 80s and early 90s, was also based on Object Pascal before Apple moved the code to C++.
  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:26PM (#10592477) Journal
    > I find it unfortunate that Universities usually use "professional"
    > languages like Java or (before that) C++ rather than a language specifically
    > designed to be clear to new programmers.

    Pascal was created to teach "correct" structured programming.
    When the prevalent paradigm shifted to OOP, it became outdated.
  • OMG! you too! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:31PM (#10592528) Journal
    Mac Pascal, Lightspeed C! I thought I was the only living person who climbed that learning curve. Problem was; it turned in to a learning cliff that I then fell off. I was good for nothing but assembler and BLISS for years until Pascal came along. This means we are due for a birthday party for the original MS-Basic pretty soon.
    But didnt Pascal lead people to think of P-code which foreshadowed Java bytecode? a link off the article's link [] seems to agree with my i better not read it too carefully;)

    and I certainly didn't use pascal just for academics. When I execavated the basement hole for my house, on an ostensibly unbuildable scrap of bedrock-studded land, a pascal contour mapping program that I wrote detected the one spot where the bedrock would be flat and need no blasting...back hoe guy was amazed an amateur could show him right where to dig.
  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:38PM (#10592588) Homepage Journal
    Pascal was more than just undergrad bubble sorts.

    Though the world would have been a better place had it been so limited. My pet peeve was the weirdly brain dead default string implementation. Strings weren't null terminated, instead the length of the string was stored. That's a good idea. A bad idea is using the first byte of the string to hold the length. 8 bits to store the string length means a maximum string length of 255 characters. I worked on a large project that had originally been written in Pascal. We used p2c to convert it and maintained it in C. An early task was removing the 255 character long string brain damage and replace it with intelligent strings (in our case C++'s generally good and absolutely superior to Pascal's std::string). Still, I got to read and occasionally maintain the Pascal master for a variety of reasons. The code dealing with strings was always irritating. Sometimes it just ignored the problem (creating potential buffer overruns), sometimes it just crudely limited the string length (meaning, for example, that you couldn't have a URL longer than 255 characters), and sometimes it used some weird chained string extension that I never quite understood. Mac programmers I know told me that the 255 limit was pervasive throughout MacOS as late as MacOS 9. Most unfortunate.

    (To be fair, it did seem like a pretty good language, and I really dug the "with" idiom. A healthy revision (that may have happened, I don't stay up to date on Pascal) could have turned it into something more mainstream and successful. Hell, let's be honest, I just wanted to bitch about the stupid strings...)

  • by d3cr33p ( 629445 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:41PM (#10592627)

    It is a riot to read through all these posts on Pascal.

    When I was knee high to a grasshopper I used Pascal to...

    I remember once using pascal in high school to...

    Man, Pascal is such a great language! Why I remember the last time I used it, it was just like yesterday...25 years ago...

    Cut me some slack! Yes, it is a good language, I even have used it from time to time. But the adjectives pleasurable, cool, awesome, etc., are not what I would use to describe the experience. Perhaps okay, humdrum, yawn and eh? are some words I could use.

    I know that people still use it but Borland/Inprise (yeah, remember the Inprise fiasco?) seem to do a real good job killing it. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that Borland is Delphi's worse enemy.

    I won't go down the list of things I hate about the language or Delphi, but if I were looking for a language to use for my next project, and I read the posts here, I would NOT choose a language that seems to have only fond memories going for it (btw, try doing a search for books about Delphi on Amazon).

    If Delphi is so good and [ any language pascal users hate ] is so bad then how come Delphi is doing so miserably in the market? Ok, Ok! Yes, if you go to Brazil or the Ukraine EVERYONE and their grandmother is using it. But for as sucky as C/C++ (according to Pascalites) is it sure gets a whole LOT more air time then Pascal/Delphi. We could blame it on MSonopolies and cooperations, but that doesn't seem to go vary far either when you look at the open source community. And if cooperate America drove the use of language (not saying they don't have some say it it) then Java would be a rip roaring hit. Is it? NOT! It has a following but even it bills itself as a language that is much like C++. Even C# has a very C-ish look and feel (with a very Pascal-ish smell).

    I remember once during a Delphi campaign Borland (or were they Inprise then?) tried to convince VB programmers that moving to Delphi would be easy and painless. If that doesn't give you chills then you are dead.

    Sometime, if we all get together, I will show you my b&w photos of me using Pascal.

  • by spongman ( 182339 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:42PM (#10592638)
    MODULE HappyBirthday;
    FROM InOut IMPORT WriteString,WriteLn;
    WriteString("Happy Birthday, Dad!");
    END HappyBirthday.
  • One of the mid-semester programming assignments in my freshman compsci course was writing a templated doubly-linked list class in C++. I completely, utterly understood the concept, and I could probably have written it in no time in 68k or x86 assembler, but that homework kicked my butt.

    The hardest part was trying to figure out when to use '.' versus '->', and the always-fun '*' versus '&'. I knew what I was trying to say, but trying to figure out how to express it in valid C++ syntax was an absolute killer at a time when I was still very new to the language. I wish our department head had discovered Python at that point.

    On the other hand, it did significantly thin out the herd of would-be compsci students. I suppose that was a good thing, maybe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:51PM (#10592731)
    I have been using Pascal on multiple platforms for... what, 20 years or so? and I am still using it on Linux in various projects. You know what? It's the best language ever created for a scientist or any other kind of non-IT profession. IMHO, the two greatest disasters that have ever happened in computer programming are the advent of the C and Java languages. Let me explain (cause I can hear your laughter from here).

    C was created for writing operating system(s), recte Unix; therefore, it has features required for that task: flexibility in terms of data type passing, CPU instructions, a.s.o. Now what happened was, all geeks determined they had to do their software development in C, even if they were not involved in system programming. For someone who doesn't do programming for a living, strong typing (see Pascal) is a very good thing, as it avoids common errors. Then, someone decided C was not good enough because OOP in C/C++ was not an easy endeavor (true) so they invented Java, only they removed some very good things in the process, such as pointers and (user-controlled) dynamic memory allocation. And for those sysadmins who are still in love with C but all too aware of its limitations there is always Perl, a mutant born from a happy C + unix shell scripting marriage.

    Thus, I canot repeat it often enough, long live Pascal!
  • by Steve1952 ( 651150 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:52PM (#10592742)
    The overlap between the D&D community and the UCSD pascal community was pretty high. I myself was at UCSD in 1978, playing D&D and taking the UCSD pascal course. All the D&D programmers knew that the game was well suited for computers, and most programmers were into that sort of stuff.

    I finally got my own Apple II in 1981, and promptly tried to write a program called "Dial a Dungeon" - a multi user modem text based dungeon. Alas, too big a project for me, and thus never finished.

  • Re:So cool... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by starling ( 26204 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:17PM (#10592941)
    I loved the way the compiler would fix simple syntax errors for you, like a missing ';' at the end of the line. It print a warning, attempt to fix the problem, and carry on compiling. What's more , when it tried to fix something it was usually right!

    Couldn't seem to handle getting rid of a ';' before an 'else' though (one of the more brain-dead features of the Pascal syntax IMO).

  • Re:Loved it!!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:29PM (#10593052)
    Similar experience here, made the jump to Turbo Pascal in early high school and never looked back. I really miss Pascal strings and arrays, they were so simple to use compared to say, Java. The 256 char limit and 64K data structure limit were a bitch though. Interestingly enough I was also building a "Zelda-ish" game, but it never went anywhere. Spent most of the time designing tilesets with Improces. (Anyone remember that gem?)

    For my final CS project in high school, we had to basically write an interpreter for a small set of assembly instructions. A rudimentary virtual machine, in other words. Well of course the normal approach was a simple text-prompt interface, but I used a shareware graphics library (Fastgraf?) and built a GUI right up from the bare pixel level, with multi-windowing, menu system, illustrated help, 'advanced' features like Start At and Trace, and even user selectable mouse cursors. Ah the memories.. ;) I also wrote a bunch of graphics demos that I probably still have kickin around.. wonder how'd they run today? :)

    Anyway, welcome to Slashdot! Don't feed the trolls. :D
  • Re:Niklaus Wirth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dprovine ( 140134 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:31PM (#10593063)
    "Europeans call me by name, Americans by value."

    The version of this story that Niklaus Wirth told me (via e-mail) is that it happened when he was presenting a paper in New York in 1965. He was introduced by Aad van Wijngaarden as follows:

    And now I introduce to you a man who is a European and lives in America. Back home he is known and called "by name", pronounced as "Weert", but here he is called by value, pronounced as "Worth".

    Wirth considered an excellent pun, but he doesn't take credit for it.

  • by herc_mk2 ( 586993 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:48PM (#10593193)

    At my first job (in 1980) we did some programming with UCSD Pascal, although the majority of our work was in assembly (Z80 and friends). We dabbled around with UCSD Pascal on our CP/M machines and on a customer's Apple ][ and the performance was quite acceptable.

    Then we got this strange beast -- I think it was a modified DEC PDP-11/03. IIRC, the 11/03's CPU was actually 3 chips: a core and what was essentially two microcode PALs. The microcode chips were replaced with ones that executed p-code (rather than PDP machine code). There was no interpreter -- raw execution of the p-code in hardware. It was so blazingly fast that we couldn't believe it. It was probably a 16-bit architecture too, so that may have helped (or was the PDP-11 one of those oddball 18-bit machines, 6 octal digits to a word...)

    We never had a case for it, it just sat on the workbench on antistatic foam, with wires leading out to the floppy drives and the terminal. We did all of our Pascal development on that box, then moved it to the Apple (the customer's machine) for the "beta testing." It was mostly UI, so the performance didn't really matter.

    Eventually, we switched to using C, since Pascal wasn't too practical for the embedded systems we were designing: we were mortified to see a compiled "hello world" was 8K bytes in size! That was four ROMs in those days... C had a much smaller footprint, so we began using it.

    But I still wonder whatever happened to that machine...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:53PM (#10593235)
    Unfortunately, learning to program in Pascal is like learning to drive in a go-kart.

    Much as the go-kart is a toy which was never meant to drive on public highways, Pascal is a language which was never meant to write real programs.

    Pascal, as defined by Wirth, was a mainframe batch programming language, so things like filenames and array sizes could not be defined at runtime. Your programming assignment would tell you how many elements your array would need to be, you would hard-code that in, and you would run your program. There is no way to write a function that accepts an array of any size, or a string of any size, let alone an arbitray array of arbitrary strings!

    Sure, just as you can add things like body panels and turn signals to a go-kart, any reasonable implementation of Pascal will have modern file I/O, variable-length strings, etc. -- but then it's closer to Ada than it is Pascal.

    As long as you have to extend Pascal to make it useful, why not extend BASIC to make it useful? Just get rid of line numbers and add proper lexical functions and variables -- MS did this quite successfully with VB.NET. Afterall, BASIC is much easier for beginners because it doesn't have unnecessary syntax like semicolons after certain lines, strings defined as character arrays, or other things that are confusing for newbies.

    For a better list of what's wrong with Pascal, read "Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Language", written by Brian Kernighan after trying to write some basic programming tools, such as a sort algorithm, in Pascal.

    A few of the funnier/sadder reasons:
    * a function that sorts a 10-element array cannot sort an 11-element array
    * there is no way to exit from a loop from within the body of the loop
    * there is no way for a function to remember local variables (static in C)
    * there are no bitwise operators
    * there are no cast operators, so there is no way to interperet a char as an integer, convert an integer to real, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:08PM (#10593394)
    You're there to learn computer programming, which is why ASM, C, and C++ should be taught.

    Contrast this with Pascal or Java, which are designed to hide the "difficult" parts of the computer from view. With those languages, you learn a programming language, not computer programming. Part of the reason performance is so bad in high level languages, is not because of the language itself, but because of the unskilled programmers who choose those languages.

    Only by using a language which exposes the internal workings will one ever have a true understanding of a computer. I know I would have had a lot easier time if my college classes had started with Assembly and C rather than Pascal and Visual Basic. It took me a tremendous amount of effort to "unlearn" the bad habits of those languages and gain an understanding of the "computer" part of computer programming.

    Once you've gained a mastery of low-level code, then you are better equipped to deal with ultra-high level languages like Java and C#. You will know which operations consume the most amount of CPU, and how to avoid memory leaks in the garbage collectors (which happens when you aren't paying attention to stale references you left lying around). You will understand how common data structures like linked lists and hash maps work because you've written your own for practice, so you'll be able to choose the right one for the task at hand...

    Or perhaps, like me, you will realise that after trying Java and C#, you are still happiest with unfashionable languages like C++.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @12:43AM (#10595332)
    Like what ? Care to detail what he's supposed to have borrowed from Pascal or object pascal ? There isn't anything in .NET or C# originating from Pascal, but you're free to prove me wrong.
  • by 1g$man ( 221286 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @01:12AM (#10595461)
    properties are done in c# almost exactly like they are in delphi.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:19AM (#10596096) Homepage Journal
    Happens I still use an ancient proprietary DOS database, because I haven't yet found a replacement that works as well for the job. And a while back I talked the coder into giving me a copy of the source code, which proved to be in Pascal.

    Now, I'm an interested bystander but not a programmer. Nonetheless, just from knowing the app well in everyday use, I can make sense of the Pascal source (even tho there's not a single comment anywhere) -- enough to have some idea what I'd like to tweak, and maybe even how to do it.

    Now THAT is readability!

  • by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @05:27AM (#10596255)
    the reason why Borland Turbo Pascal was used a LOT was because of its hacker support amongst geek teens, especially here in Europe. We had the SWAG archives, which were accessible via BBS's.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982