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What is Pascal?

Pascal is an imperative, procedural and Object-oriented programming language that was developed by Niklaus Wirth as a small, but very efficient programming language that is designed to encourage good software development practices by employing both structured programming and data structuring. It was given the name Pascal in honor of the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal.

Based on the book that was written by Wirth's, Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs, Pascal was built on the pattern of the ALGOL 60 language. Wirth was actively involved in the process to better the language as part of the ALGOL X efforts and brought up a version that was referred to as ALGOL W. This version was not accepted, and the ALGOL X process took it down. In 1968, Wirth made up his mind to abandon the ALGOL X process and further improve ALGOL W, therefore releasing this to the general public as Pascal in 1970.

On top of the scalars and arrays of ALGOL's, Pascal allows developers to define complex datatypes and to develop dynamic and recursive data structures such as lists, graphs, and trees. Pascal has a strong data type on all its objects, which means that one form of data cannot be modified or interpreted as another without explicitly converting it.

Unlike other programming languages in the C-family, Pascal allows you to use a nested definition of procedures to any level of depth, and it also allows almost any kind of data definitions and declarations inside its subroutines (functions and procedures). A Pascal program is therefore similar syntactically to a single procedure or function.

Pascal became very popular and successful in the 1970s, mainly on the burgeoning minicomputer market. Various compilers were also made available for many microcomputers as the field came up in the late 1970s. It was broadly used as a language for teaching in university-level computer programming courses in the 1980s, and it is also used in production areas for developing commercial software during the same period. It was made almost obsolete by the C programming language in the late 1980s and early 1990s as Linux and UNIX-based systems became very popular, especially with the release of C++.

A derivative referred to as Object Pascal was developed for object-oriented programming in 1985, the Apple Computer and Borland made use of this in the late 1980s that was later developed into Delphi on the Microsoft Windows platform. Various extensions of the Pascal concepts brought about the languages Modula-2 and Oberon.

Features of Pascal

Pascal has the following features

1. Pascal is a strongly typed objective-oriented and procedural programming language.

2. Pascal offers an extensive error checking feature.

3. Pascal offers various data types like records, arrays, files, and datasets.

4. Pascal offers a list of software programming data structures.

5. Pascal allows for structured programming concepts through the use of functions and procedures.

Benefits of Pascal

There are many benefits of Pascal, and some of them are:

1. Pascal is a very clean programming language

2. Pascal has no Makefiles

3. Pascal compilers are very Fast.

4. Each unit in Pascal has it's own unique identifiers

5. Pascal programs are very fast, and they consume a lesser amount of memory.

Facts about Pascal

1. The Pascal language was named for Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, and pioneer in computer development.

2. Niklaus Wirth completed the development of the original Pascal programming language in 1970.

3. Pascal is based on the block-structured style of the Algol programming language.

4. Pascal was created as a suitable language for teaching programming as a systematic discipline, whose implementations could be both reliable and efficient.

5. The ISO 7185 Pascal Standard was originally published in 1983.

6. Pascal was the primary high-level language used for development in the Apple Lisa, and in the early years of the Mac.

7. In the year 1986, Apple Computer unveiled the very first object Pascal design, and also in the year 1993, the Pascal Standards Committee published an Object-Oriented Extension to Pascal.

Compilers and Interpreters for Pascal

There are various Pascal compilers and interpreters that are available for use. Among them are −

1. Turbo Pascal: provides an IDE and compiler for running Pascal programs on CP/M, CP/M-86, DOS, Windows, and Macintosh.

2. Delphi: This provides compilers for running Object Pascal and generates native code for 32- and 64-bit Windows operating systems, as well as 32-bit Mac OS X and iOS. Embarcadero is planning to build support for the Linux and Android operating systems.

3. Free Pascal: It is a free compiler for running Pascal and Object Pascal programs. Free Pascal compiler is a 32- and 64-bit Turbo Pascal and Delphi compatible Pascal compiler for Linux, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, DOS, and several other platforms.

4. Turbo51: It is a free Pascal compiler for the 8051 families of microcontrollers, with Turbo Pascal 7 syntax.

5. Oxygene: It is an Object Pascal compiler for the .NET and Mono platforms.

6. GNU Pascal (GPC): It is a Pascal compiler composed of a front end to GNU Compiler Collection.

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