Pascal not considered harmful - was Re: Rich kids are into COBOL

Guy Sotomayor ggs at
Wed Feb 18 22:02:32 CST 2015

On 2/18/15 6:03 PM, Jon Elson wrote:
> On 02/18/2015 07:20 PM, drlegendre . wrote:
>> I was introduced to Pascal in a high-school AP computer science 
>> course ca.
>> 1986. It was a real eye-opener, and seemed quite powerful after only 
>> using
>> BASIC and the occasional chunks of borrowed 6502 ASM.
>> Personally, I thought it was an excellent teaching language - at 
>> least for
>> HS students in the late 1980s.
> it was CREATED as a teaching language, and then had to be extended a bit
> to make it usable for professional tasks.  I loved it, and created 
> several
> significant pieces of code on it.
>>   I really enjoyed learning to use it - though
>> as someone who'd had almost ten years' time with BASIC, I found the
>> emphasis on recursive (sub-)routines to be a bit difficult to grasp.
>> Something about it just seemed... kludge-y. But functions were a very
>> welcome addition..
>> Of course, I've forgotten it all!
> I hadn't used Pascal for ages, but recently ported a Gerber to raster 
> conversion
> program that I had written in Borland's Turbo Pascal on Windown 95 and NT
> to run under Linux.  Just in time, Free Pascal (FPC) came out.  It was 
> specifically
> designed to run old Turbo Pascal and DEC Pascal programs with minimal
> changes.
> I must say that what I knew of Pascal came back VERY quickly, and the 
> only
> problems I had were converting a few really oddball constructs I used
> in the old Turbo Pascal program to more modern methods.  (I used some
> weird tricks when allocating large chunks of memory for raster buffers 
> and
> bitmaps.)
Back in the late 70's and early 80's I was busily writing a number of 
Pascal compilers including one that I wrote while I was at IBM (I think 
that was
number 6).

Bill Maddox had actually unearthed one of my middle Pascal compilers that I
wrote while an undergrad at CMU along with all of the documentation.  The
claim to fame of that compiler was the development/documentation of the
stack machine (and associated tools, including an interpreter) that was the
target of the compiler.  All of it was written in Pascal.

A later version (and significantly restructured/rewritten) was to have an
interpreted stack machine that would be run on C.MMP.  That version is
at this point lost to the mists of time.  :-(

BTW, all 6 of the Pascal compilers that I wrote were all written in Pascal,
used recursive decent parsers and were self hosted (that is the compiler
when working would compile itself) which was a great test of the entire
tool chain.  ;-)

TTFN - Guy

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