Turbo Pascal version 1.0 - a month of memories

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This post ends thirty days of blog posts in celebration of Turbo Pascal Version 1.0's 25th anniversary.  I've tried to post a selection of memories and technical details but I knew I would not be able to tell the whole story in just one month.  I will continue to collect the historical documents and memories and post them periodically in my blog.  So keep sending in those stories and technical tidbits.

Here are a few additional memories from community members about Turbo Pascal.  While they are not specifically about version 1.0, they definitely add to the depth and breadth of impacts that Turbo Pascal had on the history of PC programming around the world.

From: Andrea Raimondi
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 1:35 AM
Subject: Memories of Turbo Pascal

I got to Turbo Pascal pretty late in the party, as it was 1991 but well, at the time I was 14!!! My first programs were all written in this beautiful language, which I still adore(and can program in after 17 years. It may look exaggerated, but I can say that Turbo Pascal really saved my life. Yes, it did. It's tough to be a lonely 14 yo guy too shy to make friends with anyone, who has more interest in the world around him rather than in partying. Without Chemistry and Turbo Pascal (both boy-hood loves) I don't know where I would be today.

I don't have product stories about Turbo, because I was too raw at the time to even think of making money with it, but the very fact I could buy it without shelling out the thousands others were requiring (such as Clipper, for instance) was very positive for me. Actually, my very first "personal", i.e. in my personal belongings, version of Turbo Pascal was TP6. Oh and I was a Turbo Vision freak. I LOVED it.

So, I shall just say a HUGE THANK YOU to Borland R&D who ultimately turned my life for the better.

From: Adail Muniz Retamal - Brazil
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 8:00 AM
Subject: Memories of Turbo Pascal

My history with TP begun in 1986, when I was 16 and working with a partner. We had some Apple II and TRS-80 computers (with DOS and CP/M). I remember him coming with a floppy disk hand-labeled "Pascal Compiler" for the Apple II on CP/M. It was Turbo Pascal (version 2.0, if I remember correctly). At the time I was programming in BASIC, COBOL and some Assembly language. This "new" language seemed very interesting to me, so I spent some weeks learning it and typing in some examples.

Later, in 1988, I was already at Engineering college. I had a very close friend (Uncle Doni) who was programming for a print shop, automating their quotation and production processes. He was using QuickBasic on PC and having some problems with it. After some talking with me he decided to give TP a try (then at version 3.0). It was a quantum leap! He liked very much the language and the IDE! His programming speed and quality increased drammaticaly! From then on, he used every TP version available.

At college I was learning FORTRAN, C, Prolog, Lisp, but when I could choose, I always used Turbo Pascal for my works. This was also the Clipper era, but I didn't use it for professional work, because I already had a good TP code library with menu, screen, string handling and database routines, which was why most Clipper programmers used Clipper.

I also faced severe opposition from some teachers for using Pascal, when the "fashion" was to use C. Thanks again to my friend Uncle Doni, because I knew the power of TP for real world applications, I didn't care much about their opinion. In the last year at college I wrote a microprocessor simulator that is used even today! I was using TP 5.5 with my first object-oriented understanding. I also developed a multimedia kiosk, with sound, high-res graphics and touch-screen, all writen in TP and calling the drivers' API's through inline assembler.

Later, in 1993, Uncle Doni bought TP version 6.0, which came with Turbo Vision 1.0, a real object-oriented library (the grandmother of Delphi VCL). Studying its reference manual (which I still have in my bookshelf), I really learned what OOP means and how a truly OO-GUI works. It was a Windows-like GUI in text mode! I've developed great systems and tools with TV, especially when TP 7.0 came with TV 2.0, an excelent improvement over version 1.0. When Delphi came about in 1995, I was ready to it: my mind was prepared by Turbo Vision!

Since then I've mastered Delphi from the start, being one of the best programmers and instructors in my town. In 2002, I left my town to work for Borland in São Paulo, the biggest metropolis in Brazil, realizing a long awaited dream. I still program in Delphi (and at some nostalgic times, in Borland Pascal 7.0) today, for some special component building and, particularly, to teach programming to my kids and some newer colleagues.

I'll always be thankful to Turbo Pascal (and Delphi) for giving me wonderful thousand hours of fun, for helping me build great products and earn precious money for my family! These thanks are, of course, extended to those who made it all possible: Philippe Kahn, Anders Hejlsberg and later Borland and CodeGear team, including you, David Intersimone! And a special thanks to Uncle Doni, who was my Pascal and good programming practices mentor! His successful ERP for print shops is still written in Pascal, only now using the Delphi compiler with his self-developed component library.

From: Lennie De Villiers - South Africa
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 12:01 AM
Subject: Turbo Pascal 7.0

I started programming at the age of 13 on a old 386, 1MB RAM machine running MS DOS 5.0 using QBASIC that was the only language you got for free with the OS. After writting most of my programs in QBASIC I saw a friend writting a cool application using this "Pascal" language called Turbo Pascal.... It was compiled and didn't require QBASIC to run at all! The language was also easy.

So I took my savings, R200 (South Africa Currency) and bought Turbo Pascal 7.0, orginally only 4 floppies.... yes floppies (incredible since today everybody share stuff on USB sticks etc and the floppy is history) I got introduced to the Turbo Pascal language, to OOP (yes QBASIC isn't OOP) and sold my first application (for R400.00 - back then that was alot of money) that was when my career as a developer started. At age 21 I studied software development and got my first job as a Delphi developer.

Today at the age of 27 I still do freelance work in Delphi even if my day time job is of a professional Java developer, Turbo Pascal helped to learn what I required to become a professional.

Thank you Turbo Pascal!

[ David I. note - if you have Turbo Pascal version 1.0 stories (and stories of your use of Turbo Pascal later versions) to share, send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will add them to my collection and periodically post them on this blog. Native code compiler Turbo Pascal lives on in Delphi 2009 - if you haven't tried it yet, get the trial download at http://www.codegear.com/downloads ]

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David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.


  • Guest
    guadalupe Wednesday, 11 June 2014

    hola muy buen blog

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