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Delphi History – from Pascal to Embarcadero Delphi XE 2

Delphi history: the Roots


This document provides concise descriptions of Delphi versions and its history, along with a brief list of features and notes. Find out how Delphi evolved from Pascal to a RAD tool that can help you solve complex development problems to deliver high-performance, highly scalable applications ranging from desktop and database applications to mobile and distributed applications for the Internet – not only for Windows but also for Linux and the .NET.

What is Delphi?
Delphi is a high-level, compiled, strongly typed language that supports structured and object-oriented design. Delphi language is based on Object Pascal. Today, Delphi is much more than simply "Object Pascal language".

The roots: Pascal and its history
The origin of Pascal owes much of its design to Algol - the first high-level language with a readable, structured, and systematically defined syntax. In the late sixties (196X), several proposals for an evolutionary successor to Algol were developed. The most successful one was Pascal, defined by Prof. Niklaus Wirth. Wirth published the original definition of Pascal in 1971. It was implemented in 1973 with some modifications. Many of the features of Pascal came from earlier languages. The case statement, and value-result parameter passing came from Algol, and the records structures were similar to Cobol and PL 1. Besides cleaning up or leaving out some of Algol's more obscure features, Pascal added the capability to define new data types out of simpler existing ones. Pascal also supported dynamic data structures; i.e., data structures which can grow and shrink while a program is running. The language was designed to be a teaching tool for students of programming classes.

In 1975, Wirth and Jensen produced the ultimate Pascal reference book "Pascal User Manual and Report". Wirth stopped its work on Pascal in 1977 to create a new language, Modula - the successor to Pascal.

Borland Pascal
With the release (November 1983) of Turbo Pascal 1.0, Borland started its journey into the world of development environments and tools. To create Turbo Pascal 1.0 Borland licensed the fast and inexpensive Pascal compiler core, written by Anders Hejlsberg. Turbo Pascal introduced an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) where you could edit the code, run the compiler, see the errors, and jump back to the lines containing those errors. Turbo Pascal compiler has been one of the best-selling series of compilers of all time, and made the language particularly popular on the PC platform.

In 1995 Borland revived its version of Pascal when it introduced the rapid application development environment named Delphi - turning Pascal into a visual programming language. The strategic decision was to make database tools and connectivity a central part of the new Pascal product.

The roots: Delphi
After the release of Turbo Pascal 1, Anders joined the company as an employee and was the architect for all versions of the Turbo Pascal compiler and the first three versions of Delphi. As a chief architect at Borland, Hejlsberg secretly turned Turbo Pascal into an object-oriented application development language, complete with a truly visual environment and superb database-access features: Delphi.

What follows on the next two pages, is a concise description of Delphi versions and its history, along with a brief list of features and notes.

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