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Old 01-25-2005, 06:13 AM   #1
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Is pascal *dead* ? (need insight)


First off, let me start by saying I'm not thinking about this for a major language, I've chosen C++ for that

It's because at my school we have to choose two things to really focus on, along with one subject a bit more for fun/interest or 3 "majors" if that's your cup of tea..

Anyway I was at a presentation for "computer science" (or so my dictionary says :P )
And he went over the course, starting off with simple webprogramming and problem solution techniques etc.. Then he went over to programming and handed delphi books for a version 3 (released in 1997) while he briefly gave a demonstration I saw him adding some sourcecode for a putton in a *.pas document, which he explained was delphi pascal, supposedly a fork off Turbo Pascal.

Now my question is: Would it be a *complete* waste of time to pick this up for my next year ? I'm hoping to be a programmer later on in life (hence the C++ reading). My own answer would be that learning one language can provide some general programming understanding which would help in the other...

Oh and lastly, of course all of this flew on a Windows XP machine, but I'm not that interested in Windows so would I be able to experiment a bit with Kylix on linux ? Or have delphi/kylix completely abandoned pascal in later versions .... ?

Thank you for taking the time to read. Hopefully I'll get some answers
Old 01-25-2005, 06:36 AM   #2
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I would say:yes. Pascal is an 80's language.

Learn Java. It's the second most ubiqutious language after C++, and if you have a good grounding in these 2 languages there's nothing you can't do: PHP, JavaScript etc.
Old 01-25-2005, 06:44 AM   #3
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Agreed, definitely 80s. I know one guy who uses it, but that is specifically Delphi for Oracle development and because he already knows it.

Java? Not sure. It's essentially C++ with the trickier bits like pointers and operator overloading removed, so I'm not sure it would be all that useful as a second language. I would be tempted to go with something less C-like to give you more depth, even if it isn't as widely used as Java.
Old 01-25-2005, 06:51 AM   #4
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Well if I could choose a newbie-friendly language to let him teach it would be Python
But would it be a complete waste of time if I plan on being a programmer later on ?
The language itself is dead (so you say, and I'm very tempted to believe you

Just remember it's really not on what I choose to learn, since I'm all for the C++ approach, I'm more thinking about whether it would make even the slightest difference in any future endeavors.
Old 01-25-2005, 07:08 AM   #5
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If you want to have a broad view of programming, here are some languages to look at:
- Assembler
- Ada, or C, or Pascal
- Java, or C++
- Scheme, or Lisp
- Prolog

There's no particular order between the lines. But on each line, languages are listed in my order of preference, NOT necessarily as an everyday-use language, but rather as interesting experiences.

Old 01-25-2005, 07:20 AM   #6
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well he said that I'd get a brief tour through assembler too.. So it might be good enough, if for nothing else, then to discover what was before all these newer things ?
Old 01-25-2005, 07:32 AM   #7
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Overall, Pascal is dead, except...

That Delphi and Kylix use a modern version of Pascal as their language to great results. Both use an Object-Oriented version of Pascal, and Delphi especially has quite a devoted following (particularily outside of the US).

On the other hand, I would really go for Java, as it's the "Enterprise" language of choice... The .NET framework is dead in the water if you ask me, because it will always be hostage to M$'s marketing interests, Mono notwithstanding. And C++ will slowly (very slowly) become the new Assembler, used mainly in situations where the need to be "close to the metal" is critical.

In a real business situation, no one has the time to chase memory leaks and floating pointers all over the place; your time must be allocated mostly to solving the business problem at hand. So you make compromises: a little performance here for some code manageability there; Inefficient memory usage for the benefit of using community-tested components with a solid track record, etc...

In the real world, the language used is really of little consequence; what matters much more are matters such as architecture, manageabiliity, scalability etc... This has an impact on the languages used, hence the popularity of Java in the business world, which has a proven track record in all these matters (although it is very far from perfect in any of them). But it would be a mistake to think that it's the language that is the most important thing; Java's success really stems from what the community has made with the language. The same thing happened with C, which is a horrible language in the abstract, but was made a de-facto standard by the community.
Old 01-25-2005, 07:35 AM   #8
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Well, if the object is just for interest and not that you would ever spend time on a real job with the language in question, I think assembler is a great idea. It would give you a much better idea of what is going on closer to the hardware than a high-level language would.
Old 01-25-2005, 08:25 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies
I think I'll go ahead and sign up for it regardless, one needs a break from all the less interesting subjects at school (read: athletics :P ).

I think I'll agree with you drobert_bfm that the language is less important, and that the job really is the defining factor.

However I'd disagree with you on the C++ part. I never think you'll get rid of it, it might evolve into something with a new name but it has a better chance of survival than 60% of all other languages IMHO that is.

Anyway, once more, thank you all You answered everything, pascal, it's useabillity today and what kylix/delphi is packing in the pascal department and so. Really appreciated!
Old 01-25-2005, 11:41 AM   #10
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Pascal has always been an acdemic language, it's rarely used in the real world. Not saying it is not worth to learn, my first language was pascal, and I learned the basics of programming with it.

In my opinion there are only two platforms are suited for enterprise software deveopment, Java and .NET. And I personally prefer Java. To learn to be a good programmer however, I'd recommend learning C/C++ first. You need to get your hands dirty with pointers, memory allocation and tracking down memory leaks, they will help you understand the computer systems and programming languages. In term, help you learn Java and others.
Old 01-25-2005, 12:42 PM   #11
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Kylix/Delphi is my favorite development language. You can do all the advanced stuff that is possible in C++, but it's not as obscure a syntax. I'm quite surprised that it's faded into obscurity because it is so much easier to code in than C++. I've described Kylix/Delphi as the ease of VB with the power of C++.


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