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Developed by Niklaus Wirth, a Swiss computer scientist, in the late 1960s, Pascal is a third-generation programming language.

Pascal was developed on the pattern of the ALGOL-60 language while Wirth was employed by Borland. Wirth was involved in the efforts to improve the ALGOL-60 language, as part of the ALGOL X development process. He proposed a version known as ALGOL W, but that was not accepted and the development of ALGOL X bogged down. Wirth decided to abandon the ALGOL X development and further improve ALGOL W, which was released as Pascal in 1970.

It is a multi-purpose language, considered to be efficient in the compiler and at runtime. It is also regarded as being suitable as a first language for programming students and was well-received throughout the 1970s when a generation of computer programmers was taught Pascal as an introductory language.

Another reason for its success was the introduction of UCSD Pascal, a version that runs on the UCSD p-System, a portable, highly machine-dependent operating system, which could be ported to different platforms. Among these was the Apple II, which was widely distributed. This led to its becoming the primary language used in the development of the Apple Lisa and the Apple Macintosh. Versions of Pascal were used in the development of the Motorola 68000 assembly language, Adobe Photoshop, Skype, and Macromedia Captivate.

Object Pascal, a version created for the Macintosh, became the basis of the Delphi system for Microsoft Windows, which is still used for developing Windows applications. In 1989, Object Pascal extensions were added to Turbo Pascal, which was a huge success. An open-source alternative, known as Free Pascal, was released under a GNU General Public License in 1997. Other variants included GNU Pascal, IP Pascal, Pascal-SC and Pascal-XSC, Pascal Sol, Super Pascal, and TMT Pascal, but Turbo Pascal continues to be widely known.

Borland released two versions known as Turbo Pascal for Windows, but they were succeeded by Borland Pascal 7, which included a Windows compiler known as Borland Pascal for Windows. Borland released Turbo Pascal for Macintosh in 1985, but Borland did not support the product well, and soon dropped Macintosh support.

By 1995, Borland had dropped both Turbo Pascal and Borland Pascal, replacing them with Borland Delphi. In 2000, Borland released several versions of Turbo Pascal as freeware, but not until after they had already become abandonware. However, other suppliers have produced software development tools compatible with Turbo Pascal.

Borland Pascal is still taught in high schools, colleges, and universities as an introduction to computer programming, usually advancing to C, Java, or both. Several lecturers prefer Borland Pascal or Turbo Pascal over more modern IDEs like Microsoft Visual Studio or Borland JBuilder, as they introduce students to such tasks as using a keyboard and keyboard shortcuts, makes them familiar with DOS commands, and allows them to write programs without spending a lot of time getting the environment to work. Turbo Pascal is available as a free download from Borland and elsewhere.

Developed by Modern Pascal Solutions, Modern Pascal is a cross-platform, interpreter, compiler, and runtime environment for command line, server-side, and networking applications. Modern Pascal applications are written in Pascal/Object Pascal and can be run on Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and DOS/32 platforms. Object Pascal is a Pascal extension that provides object-oriented features.

Topics related to any of the versions of Pascal, programming tools designed specifically for Pascal programming, Pascal tutorials, and user groups are all appropriate for this category.



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