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First compiled languages – Twitter survey

Dec 9, 2014

Yesterday I asked a question on the Twitters:

Amazingly I’ve received (so far) 59 responses that break down roughly into the following groups.

I don’t have any interest in analyzing the data deeply,1 but I think it’s interesting that Pascal2 wins by a landslide. Bear in mind that I’ve distilled the results into larger language types. That is, QBASIC and Quick BASIC became BASIC, Turbo Pascal and UCSD Pascal became Pascal, and so on.

Turbo Pascal was my first IDE and its flavor of Pascal was my first compiled language. In many ways the Turbo Pascal environment spoiled me, and in my mind I feel that it’s not been equaled by modern systems. But, I don’t know if that’s really true. That is, it’s currently difficult for me to separate the nostalgia from my actual experiences all those years ago. I wonder how many of the respondents have the same problem?

I might have to break out an “ancient” Turbo Pascal IDE to see. ;)

:F


  1. Not that I could, given it’s small sample size and likely heavy bias. 

  2. At a glance it seems that Turbo Pascal by itself would best the various flavors of BASIC. 

5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Lawrence Kesteloot

    If your first Turbo Pascal was version 3, then you can try a web-based replica of it here: http://www.teamten.com/lawrence/projects/turbo_pascal_compiler/demo/

    My very first experience with a compiler was ZBASIC, a program that compiled BASIC on the TRS-80. You wrote regular BASIC in the interpreter, but then hit ZXC together to compile it. The program was unimaginably faster. I’ll never forget seeing it run the first time, finishing in two or three seconds what had previously taken overnight.

  2. COBOL, by including the source code for the compiler before the other punch cards in my deck for submission.

    BTW, a pet peeve: I don’t like the phrase “compiled language” because languages are not compiled; implementations may or may not be. Like, if I speak Chinese to you and you already know Chinese, then as you are deriving the meaning of what I’m saying in real time, you are “interpreting” Chinese natively on your brain hardware. If you feed each word through a dictionary while I’m doing it, maybe you’re “interpreting” with a dictionary. If you having someone translate the entirety of what I say into English, and then have the whole thing played back to you in English, you’re “compiling”.

    Note that after COBOL, I used Pascal. But was it “compiled” or “interpreted”? It was Apple Pascal, “compiled” to p-code then “interpreted”. Yeah, it was compiled. I still remember the progress dots while waiting.

  3. @Franklin

    My question was a gloss. The real question is trying to gather peoples’ first experience with a compilation stage I suppose.

  4. “In many ways the Turbo Pascal environment spoiled me, and in my mind I feel that it’s not been equaled by modern systems. But, […] it’s currently difficult for me to separate the nostalgia from my actual experiences all those years ago.”

    I don’t think it’s just nostalgia. Working with Turbo Pascal was /fun/. And simple; I have a strong aversion to complicated meta-programs, but that just felt natural as breathing.

  5. Hugo

    Maybe we’ll see Turbo Pascal in the Qemu calendar ? http://www.qemu-advent-calendar.org/

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