[TUHS] Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language - Unearthed!

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Fri Sep 1 02:12:43 AEST 2017


I did a lot of Pascal programming back in the day on my DEC Rainbow with
Turbo Pascal. Also wrote a compiler for an 'extended subset' of the
language in my CS compiler's class, which was fun. But by then I'd
transitioned to C (once Turbo C was available for the IBM-PC, I hacked
together a TSR so I could run it on the not-too-compatible Rainbow). I
liked the low level access, but honestly, when I was a kid programming, I
liked that { was 4 characters shorter than BEGIN and } was 2 shorter than
END more than anything else...  Also, the generally mono-case of C (at the
time, this was before I discovered X11's bletcherous CamelCaseStyle) was
easier on the eyes....  But these days I'm more mellow about this stuff
since I know that the time to type in the code is tiny compared to the time
spent chasing down a bug because ++*++foo--; didn't work like you'd
expected making all the cleverness that went into it wasted...

Warner

On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 9:26 AM, Eric Wayte <ewayte at gmail.com> wrote:

> In the mid 80's when I took Programming II as part of my CS degree, I used
> every Pascal compiler I could get my hands on:  Waterloo Pascal on VM/CMS
> (mainframe), Turbo Pascal, UCSC p-System on an Apple II, and Kyan Pascal on
> my Atari 800XL.
>
> Fun times!
>
> On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 10:48 AM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
>
>> I did a lot of programming in Turbo Pascal (because it was so fast
>> to compile) and I liked the language OK.
>>
>> I was taught data structures in Pascal and later taught using Pascal
>> and it was a fine teaching language.  I agree with the comment that
>> it is easier to use right, more guard rails.
>>
>> But as you grow up, you want to take off the guard rails once in a
>> while and Pascal didn't let you do that.  C does that routinely,
>> which one could argue isn't that great, but it sure is handy.
>>
>> On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 06:13:39PM -0700, Bakul Shah wrote:
>> > On Wed, 30 Aug 2017 06:34:54 MDT arnold at skeeve.com wrote:
>> > > Brian Kernighan was kind enough to find for me everyone's favorite
>> > > Computing Sceince Technical Report, CSTR 100, "Why Pascal is Not
>> > > My Favorite Programming Language".
>> >
>> > If I may comment on the paper itself....
>> >
>> > I used Pascal heavily for about 5-6 years and was also
>> > involved in implementing a variant of Pascal for a couple of
>> > years.  And I have used C since 1981.  I have to say I was
>> > quite happy using Pascal. Some of bwk's criticism (e.g.  re:
>> > sets) applies to pascal compilers, not the language. There is
>> > also some misunderstanding (e.g.
>> >     type apple = integer; orange = integer;
>> > This is renaming, not a new type).  The array problem got
>> > fixed somewhat in the 1985 standard, while arrays are not
>> > even first class objects in C.  Most implementations added
>> > separate compilation as well (1985 standard considers this an
>> > implementation issue but does allow you to declare external
>> > references).
>> >
>> > Things I missed in C that were in Pascal:
>> > - enumerated types (type color = (red, blue, green))
>> > - subranges
>> > - nested functions (even if limited)
>> > - first class arrays (even if limited)
>> > - sets
>> > - lexical non-local goto
>> > - bounds checking
>> > - arrays that didn't start at 0.
>> > - function argument checking (K&R C)
>> > - tagged variant records
>> >
>> > All in all, both languages are quite comparable.  Each
>> > language had their strong points and weak ones. Basically Pascal
>> > was easier to use /right/ and C more flexible. Pascal code is
>> > easier to read than C code (even today). It was harder to
>> > "cheat" in Pascal but the same is a useful feature of C for
>> > low level work.  To be frank the *main* thing that attracted
>> > me to C was its conciseness :-) If Unix was written in Pascal
>> > I would've happily continued using Pascal!
>> >
>> > --bakul
>>
>> --
>> ---
>> Larry McVoy                  lm at mcvoy.com
>> http://www.mcvoy.com/lm
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Eric Wayte
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20170831/c079f85b/attachment-0001.html>


More information about the TUHS mailing list