The first Pascal compiler was designed in Zürich for the CDC 6000 series mainframe computer family. Niklaus Wirth reports that a first attempt to implement it in Fortran in 1969 was unsuccessful due to Fortran's inadequacy to express complex data structures. The second attempt was formulated in the Pascal language itself and was operational by mid-1970. Many Pascal compilers since have been similarly self-hosting, that is, the compiler is itself written in Pascal, and the compiler is usually capable of recompiling itself when new features are added to the language, or when the compiler is to be ported to a new environment. The GNU Pascal compiler is one notable exception, being written in C.
The first successful port of the CDC Pascal compiler to another mainframe was completed by Welsh and Quinn at the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB) in 1972. The target was the International Computers Limited 1900 series. This compiler in turn was the parent of the Pascal compiler for the ICS Multum minicomputer. The Multum port was developed – with a view to using Pascal as a systems programming language – by Findlay, Cupples, Cavouras and Davis, working at the Department of Computing Science in Glasgow University. It is thought that Multum Pascal, which was completed in the summer of 1973, may have been the first 16-bit implementation.
A completely new compiler was completed by Welsh et al. at QUB in 1977. It offered a source-language diagnostic feature (incorporating profiling, tracing and type-aware formatted postmortem dumps) that was implemented by Findlay and Watt at Glasgow University. This implementation was ported in 1980 to the ICL 2900 series by a team based at Southampton University and Glasgow University. The Standard Pascal Model Implementation was also based on this compiler, having been adapted, by Welsh and Hay at Manchester University in 1984, to check rigorously for conformity to the BSI 6192/ISO 7185 Standard and to generate code for a portable abstract machine.
The first Pascal compiler written in North America was constructed at the University of Illinois under Donald B. Gillies for the PDP-11 and generated native machine code.
To propagate the language rapidly, a compiler "porting kit" was created in Zurich that included a compiler that generated code for a "virtual" stack machine, i.e., code that lends itself to reasonably efficient interpretation), along with an interpreter for that code – the Pascal-P system. The P-system compilers were termed Pascal-P1, Pascal-P2, Pascal-P3, and Pascal-P4. Pascal-P1 was the first version, and Pascal-P4 was the last to come from Zurich.
The Pascal-P4 compiler/interpreter can still be run and compiled on systems compatible with original Pascal. However, it only accepts a subset of the Pascal language.
Pascal-P5, created outside of the Zurich group, accepts the full Pascal language and includes ISO 7185 compatibility.
UCSD Pascal branched off Pascal-P2, where Kenneth Bowles utilized it to create the interpretive UCSD p-System.
A compiler based on the Pascal-P4 compiler, which created native binaries, was released for the IBM System/370 mainframe computer by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission; it was called the "AAEC Pascal Compiler" after the abbreviation of the name of the Commission.
In the early 1980s, Watcom Pascal was developed, also for the IBM System 370.
IP Pascal was an implementation of the Pascal programming language using Micropolis DOS, but was moved rapidly to CP/M running on the Z80. It was moved to the 80386 machine types in 1994, and exists today as Windows/XP and Linux implementations. In 2008, the system was brought up to a new level and the resulting language termed "Pascaline" (after Pascal's calculator). It includes objects, namespace controls, dynamic arrays, along with many other extensions, and generally features the same functionality and type protection as C#. It is the only such implementation that is also compatible with the original Pascal implementation, which is standardized as ISO 7185.
In the early 1980s, UCSD Pascal was ported to the Apple II and Apple III computers to provide a structured alternative to the BASIC interpreters that came with the machines.
Apple Computer created its own Lisa Pascal for the Lisa Workshop in 1982 and ported this compiler to the Apple Macintosh and MPW in 1985. In 1985 Larry Tesler, in consultation with Niklaus Wirth, defined Object Pascal and these extensions were incorporated in both the Lisa Pascal and Mac Pascal compilers.
In the 1980s Anders Hejlsberg wrote the Blue Label Pascal compiler for the Nascom-2. A reimplementation of this compiler for the IBM PC was marketed under the names Compas Pascal and PolyPascal before it was acquired by Borland. Renamed Turbo Pascal, it became hugely popular, thanks in part to an aggressive pricing strategy and in part to having one of the first full-screen Integrated development environments, and fast turnaround-time (just seconds to compile, link, and run.) Additionally, it was written and highly optimized entirely in assembly language, making it smaller and faster than much of the competition. In 1986 Anders ported Turbo Pascal to the Macintosh and incorporated Apple's Object Pascal extensions into Turbo Pascal. These extensions were then added back into the PC version of Turbo Pascal for version 5.5. At the same time Microsoft also implemented the Object Pascal compiler. Turbo Pascal 5.5 had a large influence on the Pascal community, which began concentrating mainly on the IBM PC in the late 1980s. Many PC hobbyists in search of a structured replacement for BASIC used this product. It also began to be adopted by professional developers. Around the same time a number of concepts were imported from C to let Pascal programmers use the C-based API of Microsoft Windows directly. These extensions included null-terminated strings, pointer arithmetic, function pointers, an address-of operator and unsafe typecasts.
However, Borland later decided it wanted more elaborate object-oriented features, and started over in Delphi using the Object Pascal draft standard proposed by Apple as a basis. (This Apple draft is still not a formal standard.) The first versions of the Delphi language were accordingly named Object Pascal. The main additions compared to the older OOP extensions were a reference-based object model, virtual constructors and destructors, and properties. Several other compilers also implement this dialect.
Turbo Pascal, and other derivatives with units or module concepts are modular languages. However, it does not provide a nested module concept or qualified import and export of specific symbols.
Super Pascal was a variant that added non-numeric labels, a return statement and expressions as names of types.
The universities of Zurich, Karlsruhe and Wuppertal have developed an EXtension for Scientific Computing (Pascal-XSC), which provides a free solution for programming numerical computations with controlled precision.
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