Turbo Pascal

Turbo Pascal is an integrated development environment for the Pascal language . Its power and “democratic” price made its success in the 1980s and 1990s .


The compiler was based on the Blue Label Pascal compiler originally written in 1981 by Anders Hejlsberg for the Nascom computer with the NasSys cassette operating system. It was rewritten under the name Compass Pascal for the CP / M operating system , and then changed to Poly Pascal (after Poly Data from Hejlsberg) before being purchased by Borland and produced for systems DOS and CP / M . Borland distributed a version for Apple Macintosh in 1985, but support for this platform was quickly abandoned 1 , 2 .

When the first version of PC – compatible Turbo Pascal appeared in 1983 , the concept of an integrated development environment (EDI) was relatively unknown (PCs worked in text mode, as did mainframes ). The power of the compiler , which only took 16 KB (size of a common text editor), and its speed (direct compilation in memory, in a single pass), plus the low prices practiced by Borland (49.95 Dollars for the purchase in 1983 , and no royalty to pay for the distribution of the compiled codes unlike the Microsoft compilers’

Thanks to a non-redundant management of the error messages, the code was very compact so that the compiler and the editor (in full screen mode) can remain permanently in RAM : 16 KB. The use of the disk, a bit like PUFFT 3 ( Purdue University Fast Fortran Translator ) or WATFOR 4 (Waterloo FORTRAN ) on mainframe obviously made compilations very fast.

It should be added that the codes produced by the compiler were free of rights . On the contrary, Microsoft intended to claim rights to these codes because they necessarily included modules from the library.


Over the years, Borland has improved the EDI but also the programming language .

  • With version 4.0 a hypertext online help is available , from which you can copy and paste the examples in the development editor. The language also evolves, with the appearance of “units”, which allow modular programming and separate compilation. It also makes it possible to clearly separate in each module the interface part of the implementation part and allows each module to have its own initializations , which considerably increases the readability of the programs.
  • The object programming appears in version 5.5, in a still rudimentary form 5 .
  • With version 6.0, the EDI is much improved: it uses Turbo Vision , an object-oriented graphic library that also appears with this version of Turbo Pascal.

The latest version of Turbo Pascal, version 7.0, was available in three versions:

  • Turbo Pascal 7.0, which included an IDE for MS-DOS and compilers to create extensive MS-DOS and DOS programs ;
  • “Turbo Pascal for Windows” 1.5, based on Turbo Pascal 7.0, and intended for Windows 3.x
  • Borland Pascal 7.0, which also included an EDI for Windows , which also allowed to create executables for Windows 3.x , as well as Turbo Assembler .

In 1995 , Borland Turbo Pascal abandoned and replaced by the environment Rapid Application Development (RAD) Delphi , which included the Object Pascal language. The current version of Delphi supports all Pascal enhancements of the first products as well as the “old” object model (Turbo Pascal used the type object​while Delphi uses class​).

Turbo Pascal remains used, especially in education. It is an implementation of Pascal that was encountered recently in many economic and commercial preparatory classes in France (the Pascal language being on the official program). In France, Pascal was also allowed in the computing test of the preparatory science classes until 2014, 6 even though the Caml was predominant in the teaching of this subject. Beginning in 2015, Caml remains the only language allowed in the event of the computing option. The common teaching of computer science, meanwhile,


  • Kris Jamsa / Steven Nameroff, Turbo Pascal Program Library , BORLAND-McGRAW-HILL , 1988 ( ISBN  2-7042-1193-0 )
  • Thomas Lachand-Robert, Graphics in Turbo Pascal , Sybex , 1988 ( ISBN  2-7361-0357-2 )
  • Nino Silverio, Object-oriented programming in pascal , Eyrolles , 1991
  • Claude Delannoy, Programmer in Turbo Pascal 7 , Eyrolles , 2002 ( ISBN  978-2212089868 ) and Exercises in Turbo Pascal , Eyrolles , 1998 ( ISBN  978-2212090451 )

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Turbo Pascal for the Mac – User’s Guide and Reference Manual (1986)  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Turbo Pascal Tutor – A Self-Study Guide to Turbo Pascal for the Macintosh (1987)  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=365671  [ archive ]
  4. ↑ http://csg.uwaterloo.ca/sdtp/watfor.html  [ archive ]
  5. ↑ ( en ) TP Handbook 5.5  [ archive ]
  6. ↑ Computer Science 2014  [ archive ] of the CCPs