Programming in Pascal

Back in 2021 I wrote about APL, a computer language that I used early in my career. I have not seriously worked with it in the last 30 years, but it is still around.

Recently I read that Apple Just Released Code for Its 40-Year-Old “Lisa” Computer. This sentence caught my eye.

Much of the code is written in Pascal, an early programming language dating back to 1970, which was also used for some of the Mac’s early software.

I encountered Pascal in the 1980s. At that time it was considered a modern computer language, designed to encourage structured programming, unlike older languages such as FORTRAN and COBOL. FORTRAN and COBOL are still widely used, but Pascal is almost forgotten. See the Lindy effect

Back in the mid 1980s I wanted to be able to program at home on my own computer, an XT clone with MS-DOS 2.x, two floppy disk drives, no hard drive, and 256K RAM (later upgraded to 640K). I learned that Turbo Pascal would run on such a system, was much cheaper than the Microsoft compilers, and had a built-in Integrated Development Environment (IDE). So I bought it and used it for some years at home and occasionally at work, since my supervisor was also interested. Good times.

Some people are still interested:

If you want to be truly retro about it you should have a DOS environment. No problem. You can use the emulator DOSBox on Windows, Mac OS X, and a variety of Linux and other operating systems. When I was young I was warned about a big performance hit when running an emulator, but current systems are so much more powerful than the old hardware for DOS that this should not be a problem.

You can go completely native and install FreeDOS as a native OS on almost any Intel/AMD PC, although installing it on a virtual machine is recommended if you want networking. The system requirements for FreeDOS and DOS programs are so small that you do not need a powerful machine as your VM host.

First APL and now Pascal. What other software from my past will I encounter next in my retirement? Perhaps something from my VAX/VMS days. I really liked that OS.

1 thought on “Programming in Pascal

  1. Pingback: Installing FreeDOS | From Hilbert Space to Dilbert Space, and beyond

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