[TUHS] Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language - Unearthed!
ewayte at gmail.com
Fri Sep 1 01:26:50 AEST 2017
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.
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
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