Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Learning to Programme - PASCAL..


A high level programming language, it was developed by Niklaus Writh in the late 1960s. The language is named after Blaise Pascal, a seventeenth-centuary French Mathematican who constructed one of the first mechanical adding machines.

PASCAL is best known for its structured programming techniques.

NOTE: Here's the link for the PASCAL Compiler. This compiler is needed to run all the PASCAL programs attached from now on.

Turbo PASCAL 7.0

So Why Learn PASCAL?

Despite its fading away as a de facto standard, Pascal is still quite useful. C and C++ are very symbolic languages. Where Pascal chooses words (e.g. begin-end), C/C++ instead uses symbols ({-}). Also, C was designed for systems programming. In Pascal, mixing types leads to an error and is very infrequently done. In C/C++, type-casting and pointer arithmetic is common, making it easy to crash programs and write in buffer overruns. When the AP exam switched to C++, only a subset of C++ was adopted. Many features, like arrays, were considered too dangerous for students, and ETS provided its own "safe" version of these features.

Another reason: Speed & Size.
The Borland Pascal compiler is still lightning-fast. Borland has revitalized Pascal for Windows with Delphi, a Rapid-Application-Development environment. Instead of spending several hours writing a user interface for a Windows program in C/C++, you could do it in ten minutes with Delphi's graphical design tools. Delphi is to Pascal what Visual BASIC did to BASIC. Borland is still developing Delphi, and the open-source community has created a largely Borland-compatible compiler called Free Pascal.

Also, Pascal remains preferred at many universities, especially in areas where students are first exposed to computers at school rather than at home. In addition, Pascal was well-suited for teaching programming, and remains so. There is less overhead and fewer ways for a student to get a program into trouble. For teaching simple procedural programming, Pascal remains a good choice. Pascal has hung on longer in education outside the United States, and remains an official language of the International Informatics Olympiad. A basic programming background is useful in many technical occupations, and the overhead of learning an object-oriented language is not necessarily the best application of resources.
Thus, even after C, C++, and Java took over the programming world, Pascal retains a niche in the market. Many small-scale freeware, shareware, and open-source programs are written in Pascal/Delphi. So enjoy learning it while it lasts. It's a great introduction to computer programming. It's not scary like C, dangerous like C++, or abstract like Java. In another twenty years, you'll be one of the few computer programmers to know and appreciate PASCAL

Next : 1st Program in PASCAL - Hello!