Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Remembering Turbo Pascal

I stumbled on this post about the history of computing.

Things That Turbo Pascal is Smaller Than
Turbo Pascal 3 for MS-DOS was released in September 1986. Being version 3, there were lesser releases prior to it and flashier ones after, but 3 was a solid representation of the Turbo Pascal experience: a full Pascal compiler, including extensions that it made it practical for commercial use, tightly integrated with an editor. And the whole thing was lightning fast, orders of magnitude faster at building projects than Microsoft's compilers. 
The entire Turbo Pascal 3.02 executable--the compiler and IDE--was 39,731 bytes. How does that stack up in 2011 terms? Here are some things that Turbo Pascal is smaller than, as of October 30, 2011: 
The minified version of jquery 1.6 (90,518 bytes). 
The yahoo.com home page (219,583 bytes). 
The image of the white iPhone 4S at apple.com (190,157 bytes). 
zlib.h in the Mac OS X Lion SDK (80,504 bytes). 
The touch command under OS X Lion (44,016 bytes). 
Various vim quick reference cards as PDFs. (This one is 47,508 bytes.) 
The compiled code for the Erlang R14B02 parser (erl_parse.beam, 286,324 bytes). 
The Wikipedia page for C++ (214,251 bytes).

This reminded me of the Turbo Pascal programming I learnt in 1987 and later actually used when I was working in a medical laboratory in the late 80s to early 90's. All of the lab's patient and test results data was stored on a Unisys mainframe (the original machine filled a room and had a tape deck taller than me). As the lab technology developed, they bought new analysis machines and to get data from them into the mainframe, we installed several DOS PCs and I wrote the various data capture and interface programs in Pascal.

No comments: