A Pascal compiler and dialect. TurboPascal 1.0 fit an IDE and very fast native Compiler into 26 kilobytes. It was the nicest programming enviroment around for CP/M computers and the early MS-DOS PCs. The Pascal dialect it implemented was very nearly as expressive a ProgrammingLanguage as C, but safer and much more readable.

Check the museum at Borland's community site if you're interested in gems like a free copy of TurboPascal 1.0 and 5.5, or see the Pascal entry for Linux compilers that grok TurboPascal code.

A brief history

  • TurboPascal added full file I/O, string handling, and MachineCode inclusions to Standard Pascal.
  • TurboPascal 4 added Modula2's modules, calling them Units.
  • TurboPascal 5.5 added a C++-like ObjectOrientation.
  • TurboPascal 6 was a huge leap forward. It finally allowed you to pass functions arrays of any size, included a built-in Assembler, improved the ObjectOrientation support, and came with a text mode windowing class library called !TurboVision?, which the new IDE was itself implemented in.
  • For its next release, TurboPascal went B.I.G. TurboPascal 7 was but a sidekick to real new version: Borland Pascal 7, a vast new toolset built to match the weight (and, so it was hoped, the success in business environments) of Borland C++. While TurboPascal 7 was DOS-only, Borland Pascal shipped with a DPMI driver which was its compiler's default target platform, freeing TurboPascal code from the 640kb prison. Alas, it was only 286-compatible 16-bit ProtectedMode?, so the 64kb segment limit persisted - you just could now have many, many, many more of these chunks.
The IDE was again written in !TurboVision?, and again took advantage of its own compiler's new features by running on top of its DPMI driver. Besides the usual one running on DOS in text mode, there was another identical one for OS/2 and also a native MicrosoftWindows GUI IDE, any of which could compile binaries for any of the four target platforms (DOS, DPMI, OS/2, and 16-bit MicrosoftWindows). A class library called OWL (Object Windows Library) to write native MicrosoftWindows applications was also included, and featured an optional new "chiseled steel" look for widgets (BWCC, the Borland Windows Common Controls) that was much prettier than the very drab Windows default.
  • TurboPascal for Windows 1.0 came soon after. It was much lighter than Borland Pascal, including a Windows IDE and the OWL only. The compiler only produced Windows binaries.
  • TurboPascal for Windows 1.5 was padded with lots of library and tool additions (nine diskettes instead of six..).
  • From its next rendition on the language was officially named ObjectPascal. The current version of the IDE is called Delphi and was a MicrosoftWindows-only RAD system. It was very popular and hugely successful particularly in Germany as well as Russia and the CIS.
  • Kylix is a port of Delphi to Linux.