From: Larry O’Brien - knowing.net
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: Turbo Pascal version 1.0 anniversary…
[David I. note: Larry O'Brien is a professional writer and software developer who lives on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii. Larry has been Product Review Editor for the magazines Computer Language and AI Expert, Editor-in-Chief of Computer Language and AI Expert, founding editor of Software Development magazine and Game Developer magazine, and Editorial Director of the Software Development publishing unit of Miller Freeman Inc. (which became CMP, and now is part of the Think Services division of United Business Media ). ]
Although I never shipped anything written in Turbo Pascal, I owe my career to it.
I was late to the party; I first saw Turbo Pascal probably around ‘85. I do have a distinct memory, but it’s probably to my discredit: forget about the language or the compilation speed, the thing that wowed me was the UI. I’d never seen an application that had multiple panes showing different concerns. As I recall, TP was the first program I ever saw that used the "high" ASCII characters to draw lines rather than using dashes and pluses and pipe characters.
I didn’t really do any PC programming until a few years later, and my first Borland language was actually Turbo Prolog. (I may have used Paradox / PAL prior, but that was when it was from Ansa (?)) How I loved Turbo Prolog! But I suppose that’s for another day…
Anyhow, I was working in a lab at the time and after writing an expert system in Turbo Prolog for identifying seabirds, I was charged with developing a program that could draw a contour map of population data using a 2-D plotter. There were two magazines in the lab’s library that had relevant articles. The Dr. Dobb’s article drew a beautiful wireframe graph. Unfortunately, it was written for the Mac and the article and code was very specific to the graphics subsystem. The other article was less spectacular (ASCII art wasn’t as impressive by ‘87), but concentrated on the algorithm. So even though it was for a different output device and the code listings were in Turbo Pascal, which I didn’t know, it was the article in Computer Language that was more helpful.
That story won me the job of Product Review Editor of Computer Language in 1989. I met you, David, shortly thereafter. Borland was the very first vendor that I visited.
[ David I. note - if you have Turbo Pascal version 1.0 stories to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post some of them during this 25th anniversary month. 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 ]