Learn Pascal Programming: Still a Great Way to Get Your Feet Wet in Development?
Back in 1970, Niklaus Wirth, published the Pascal programming language as a result of design work beginning in 1968. The programming language was named after the famous mathematician Blaise Pascal, and was a procedural programming language. Like many programming languages, the Pascal language included the ability to work with records consisting of several datatypes as well as procedures to help break down overall program functionality.
Though Pascal is not as popular as Java, C, and C++ today for application development, it has been recognized as a great language to learn procedural programming and has been used in schools to teach programming. Many of the concepts present in the language including structures and some of the basic syntax exist in one form or another in many modern programming languages. The language has also been instrumental in the development of popular applications including Skype. Check out the resources below to learn more about this versatile software development language.
The online resources below in various formats will help you learn the fundamentals of Pascal and implement complex projects.
A great way to get started learning Pascal and implement simple programs is to examine the resources below.
- TutorialsPoint Pascal has several tutorials on the language. The lessons cover various aspects of the language including operators, data types, handling files, managing memory, and classes. This series of tutorials will get your through the basics and help you get started creating simple programs.
- Coronado Enterprises Pascal Tutorial also features a series of tutorials on the Pascal language but only the first few chapters are free. The tutorials not only cover basic syntax, they also go into detail about object oriented concepts including inheritance, encapsulation, and virtual methods.
- Free Pascal User’s Guide provides many lessons on how to compile programs using the Free Pascal language compiler. The compiler is available on multiple platforms including Linux and Windows. With this tutorial, you should be able to create, compile, and run your first Pascal program.
- Form Tutorial demonstrates how to create a Windows GUI application that includes various widgets such as buttons, list boxes, and edit boxes. Design of the application layout is done through the Lazarus IDE and the program is compiled through Free Pascal. The tutorial assumes that the reader understands basic object oriented progamming concepts.
- Pascal Android Programming shows the reader how to compile, install, and run a Pascal program on an Android phone.
- Artillery Game Tutorial is a series of tutorials that shows you how to create a game similar to Scorched Earth® using Pascal. Creating a project with Pascal offers a great way to understand and reinforce concepts. If you are serious about learning Pascal, then you must check out this series of tutorials.
Sometimes reading articles to learn about Pascal can be quite laborious which is why you should check out the following video tutorials.
- Free Pascal Program Tutorials is a series of video tutorials covering various lessons including compiler installation, variables, loops, functions, and reading text files. This series of video tutorials presents a broad range of topics that will give you a great start in learning the language.
- Pascal Tutorial is another series of tutorials that covers basic concepts of Pascal including variables and functions. The compiler used in this tutorial is the free Bloodshed Dev Pascal.
- Write a Pong Game in Pascal presents several tutorials on creating your own pong game. The tutorial uses the Lazarus IDE, available for free, to create the game.
- Lazurus Installation shows how to install the free IDE (integrated development environment) and Pascal compiler on Windows.
- Pascal Lazarus Programming for Android demonstrates how to create a GUI interface, compile, and run Pascal programs for the Android platform.
Since Pascal is not a widely used development language, not many courses are available online. The following courses demonstrate basic Pascal programming concepts and how to build programs without having any background knowledge:
Books on Pascal
Another way to master the Pascal programming language is through books. They provide a cheaper, yet structured alternative to online and university courses.
- Getting Started with Lazarus and Free Pascal: A beginners and intermediate guide to Free Pascal using Lazarus IDE (2015), by Menkaura Abiola-Ellison, provides an introduction to Pascal programming and covers several concepts including records, variables, data types, and functions. Advanced programming concepts are also covered by the book include graphics programming and databases.
- Object Pascal Handbook (2015), by Marco Cantu, introduces the basics of the Pascal programming language as well as object oriented concepts. Some of the object oriented programming topics described are inheritance, exception handling, generics, class manipulation, and the Object class.
- Object-Oriented Programming in Pascal: A Graphical Approach (1995), by Conner, Niguidula, and van Dam, is designed to present the basics of the Pascal language as well as advanced object oriented concepts including communication between objects. The book has many exercises as well as a project to implement a Tetris™ like game.
- Pascal Programming and Problem Solving (1993), by Sanford Leestma and Larry Nyhoff, introduces many aspects of the Pascal programming language covering various topics including data structures, modular programming, and arrays. The book provides several coding examples and exercises to help better learn the concepts.
- The Pocket Guide to Pascal (1995), by Joe Dorward, provides a short and quick reference to the Pascal programming language and includes basic syntax and relevant code snippets.
Is It Worthwhile Learning Pascal?
As a versatile language having many features that continue to be included in modern programming languages like Java, Pascal is definitely worthwhile to learn. By learning Pascal, you get exposed to many basic concepts including datatypes and variables as well as advanced object oriented concepts. Learning these lessons will help you better structure programs regardless of the language used. It is also worthwhile learning Pascal because many legacy systems use languages with similar syntax and knowing it will make it easier to modify and integrate with newer systems.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and development:
- Fortran Resources: one of the very first high level languages, still widely used in scientific programming.
- COBOL Introduction and Resources: the classic business programming language.
- Prolog Resources: Prolog was an early logic programming language.
What Code Should You Learn?
Confused about what programming language you should learn to code in? Check out our infographic, What Code Should You Learn? It not only discusses different aspects of the languages, it answers important questions such as, “How much money will I make programming Java for a living?”