Pascal was originally designed to teach structured programming techniques. However, Pascal soon proved popular and powerful enough that people started using it to create commercial applications. Unlike C/C++, which emphasizes machine efficiency, Pascal emphasizes readability. Pascal programs may not be as fast or as easy to type as C/C++ programs, but Pascal programs are much easier to read and modify. Because the bulk of programming involves updating an existing program, Pascal is ideally suited for maximizing the efficiency of programmers by making programs easier to understand and update.
Like many programming languages, Pascal has evolved into many different dialects, but one of the most popular Pascal dialects is based on Borland Software's old Turbo Pascal language — Borland Pascal. At one time, the Borland Pascal dialect dominated programming the MS-DOS operating system. However with the introduction of Microsoft Windows, programmers shifted to the easier Visual Basic or the more powerful C/C++. As a result, Pascal has fallen out of favor in North America but maintains a surprisingly large following in Europe and South America.
To create Windows programs with Pascal, Borland Software (
www.codegear.com) introduced Delphi, which was similar to Visual Basic except that it uses an object-oriented version of Pascal — Object Pascal — although it's more commonly referred to as the Delphi programming language. (You can get a free copy of Delphi by visiting ...