10 min

The PASCAL Programming Language The History of Computing

    • Technology

PASCAL was designed in 1969 by the Swiss computer scientist Niklaus Wirth and released in 1970, the same year Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Patton, and Love Story was released. The Beatles released Let It Be, Three Dog Night was ruling the airwaves with Mama Told Me Not To Come, and you could buy Pong and Simon Says for home. Wirth had been a PhD student at Berkeley in the early 1960s, at the same time Ken Thompson, co-inventor of Unix and author of the Go programming language was in school there. It’s not uncommon for a language to kick around for a decade or more gathering steam, but PASCAL quickly caught on. In 1983, PASCAL got legit and was standardized, in ISO 7185. The next year Wirth would win the 1984 Turing Award. Perhaps he listened to When Doves Cry when he heard. Or maybe he watched Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones, Gremlines, Red Dawn, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, or Terminator on his flight home. Actually, probably not. 
PASCAL is named after Blaise Pascal, the French Philosopher and Mathemetician. As with many programmers, PASCAL built THE WORLD’S FIRST FULLY FUNCTIONAL MECHANICAL CALCULATOR because he was lazy and his dad made him do too many calculations to help pay his bills. 400 years later, we still need calculators here and there, to help us with our bills.  As with many natural scientists of the time, Blaise Pascal contributed to science and math in a variety of ways:
PASCAL’S LAW IN HYDROSTATICS PASCAL’S THEOREM TO THE EMERGING FIELD OF PROJECTIVE GEOMETRY IMPORTANT WORK on ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE AND VACUUM including that REDISCOVERing THAT ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE DECREASES WITH HEIGHT A pioneer in THE THEORY OF PROBABILITY While Indian and Chinese mathematicians had been using it for centuries, PASCAL POPULARIZED THE PASCAL’S TRIANGLE and was credited with providing PASCAL’s Identity As with many in the 1600s he was deeply religious and dedicated the later part of his life to religious writings including Pensees, which helped shape the French Classical Period. Perhaps he wrote it while listening to Bonini or watching The History of Sir Francis Drake The PASCAL programming language was built to teach students to program, but as with many tools students learn on, it grew in popularity as those students graduated from college throughout the 1970s and 1980s. I learned PASCAL in high school computer science in 1992. Yes, Kris Kross was making you Jump and Billy Ray Cyrus was singing Achy Breaky Heart the same year his daughter was born.  I learned my first if, then, else, case, and while statements in PASCAL. 
PASCAL is a procedural programming language that supports structured data structures and structured programming.At the time I would write programs on notebook paper and type them in next time I had a chance to play with a computer. I also learned enumerations, pointers, type definitions, and sets. PASCAL also gave me my first exposure to integers, real numbers, chars, and booleans. I can still remember writing the word program at the top of a piece of paper, followed by a word to describe the program I was about to write. Then writing begin and end. Never forgetting the period after the end of course. The structures were simple. Instead of echo you would simply use the word write to write text to the screen, followed by hello world in parenthesis wrapped in single quotes. After all, there are special characters if you use a comma and an exclamation point in hello word. 
I also clearly remember wrapping my comments in {} because if you didn’t comment what you did it was assumed you stole your code from Byte managize. I also remember making my first procedure and how there was a difference between procedures and functions. The code was simple and readable.  Later I would use AmigaPascal and hate life. 
PASCAL eventually branched out into a number of versions including Visual PA

PASCAL was designed in 1969 by the Swiss computer scientist Niklaus Wirth and released in 1970, the same year Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Patton, and Love Story was released. The Beatles released Let It Be, Three Dog Night was ruling the airwaves with Mama Told Me Not To Come, and you could buy Pong and Simon Says for home. Wirth had been a PhD student at Berkeley in the early 1960s, at the same time Ken Thompson, co-inventor of Unix and author of the Go programming language was in school there. It’s not uncommon for a language to kick around for a decade or more gathering steam, but PASCAL quickly caught on. In 1983, PASCAL got legit and was standardized, in ISO 7185. The next year Wirth would win the 1984 Turing Award. Perhaps he listened to When Doves Cry when he heard. Or maybe he watched Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones, Gremlines, Red Dawn, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, or Terminator on his flight home. Actually, probably not. 
PASCAL is named after Blaise Pascal, the French Philosopher and Mathemetician. As with many programmers, PASCAL built THE WORLD’S FIRST FULLY FUNCTIONAL MECHANICAL CALCULATOR because he was lazy and his dad made him do too many calculations to help pay his bills. 400 years later, we still need calculators here and there, to help us with our bills.  As with many natural scientists of the time, Blaise Pascal contributed to science and math in a variety of ways:
PASCAL’S LAW IN HYDROSTATICS PASCAL’S THEOREM TO THE EMERGING FIELD OF PROJECTIVE GEOMETRY IMPORTANT WORK on ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE AND VACUUM including that REDISCOVERing THAT ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE DECREASES WITH HEIGHT A pioneer in THE THEORY OF PROBABILITY While Indian and Chinese mathematicians had been using it for centuries, PASCAL POPULARIZED THE PASCAL’S TRIANGLE and was credited with providing PASCAL’s Identity As with many in the 1600s he was deeply religious and dedicated the later part of his life to religious writings including Pensees, which helped shape the French Classical Period. Perhaps he wrote it while listening to Bonini or watching The History of Sir Francis Drake The PASCAL programming language was built to teach students to program, but as with many tools students learn on, it grew in popularity as those students graduated from college throughout the 1970s and 1980s. I learned PASCAL in high school computer science in 1992. Yes, Kris Kross was making you Jump and Billy Ray Cyrus was singing Achy Breaky Heart the same year his daughter was born.  I learned my first if, then, else, case, and while statements in PASCAL. 
PASCAL is a procedural programming language that supports structured data structures and structured programming.At the time I would write programs on notebook paper and type them in next time I had a chance to play with a computer. I also learned enumerations, pointers, type definitions, and sets. PASCAL also gave me my first exposure to integers, real numbers, chars, and booleans. I can still remember writing the word program at the top of a piece of paper, followed by a word to describe the program I was about to write. Then writing begin and end. Never forgetting the period after the end of course. The structures were simple. Instead of echo you would simply use the word write to write text to the screen, followed by hello world in parenthesis wrapped in single quotes. After all, there are special characters if you use a comma and an exclamation point in hello word. 
I also clearly remember wrapping my comments in {} because if you didn’t comment what you did it was assumed you stole your code from Byte managize. I also remember making my first procedure and how there was a difference between procedures and functions. The code was simple and readable.  Later I would use AmigaPascal and hate life. 
PASCAL eventually branched out into a number of versions including Visual PA

10 min

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