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

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Fri Sep 1 03:51:20 AEST 2017


+1 on everything he said.  Especially the bug chasing.  As a leader,
a lot of what I've done has been to push back on "clever".

On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 10:12:43AM -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
> 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
> >

-- 
---
Larry McVoy            	     lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm 


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