The Bottom 10 – Come on now!

<PERSONAL RANT - Not To Be Construed To Be The Opinions of My Employer>

Ok, well according to John Dvorak I contributed to the #9 item on the "The Bottom 10 Worst Software Disasters"!

Specifically, I'm one of those guys who produced one of the "numerous iterations of cheap Pascal " - Pascal/MT+.  It had many variations for the 8080/Z80, 8086 and 68K (manual in PDF format for 68K found here).

I have been writing compilers since 1970 and Pascal/MT+ was a very successful product by 1980's standards (sales > $40M!).  The first version of Pascal/MT (copied in my bedroom onto 8-inch floppy diskettes) sold for $49.95 and was used by companies like IBM and GE to build embedded systems in 1980.  It eventually morphed into a "large" (for the time) system that included a compiler, linker, debugger, and full-screen text editor.

Pascal/MT+ was one of the first PC-based languages to have an IDE - built-in editor, syntax checker and compiler.  It ran on a 64k Z80 (note that's k not MB)!  This was in 1980!, TurboPascal, according to Borland's website, shipped November 20, 1983!

Pascal/MT+ was used to create many successful products as well as the first version of CP/M 68K (in 1982).

So while I agree that Pascal has gone out of fashion I don't think that our (the compiler writer community) collective efforts to raise the level of development abstraction (everyone who was anyone in 1979 wrote in assembly language [and argued about which set of mnemonics to use!]) deserves to be categorized in quite this fashion.

C'mon John, certainly you can find something else for that list... how about EasyWriter?



Comments (3)
  1. In Czech Republic was competions in programming for school children, I was one of them in that time (around 1990), allowed languages Turbo Pascal and Borland C. Guys which programmed in Pascal was better, just because in C first you need to write is string library, so thanks for "string" …

    BTW still developing some application in TP for DOS thats still sells, wow thats ancient 🙂

    Of course now I am programming mostly in C++, but still want speed of compilation of Pascal back :-), I know C# brings it, but for time critical applications is not good enough.

  2. Scott Mace says:

    If memory serves me correctly, at one time in the early 80s before he started writing Inside Track, Dvorak had an answering machine message that began: "Hi it’s John. If you want COBOL…" Evidently at one time John sold or distributed COBOL software for PCs (running CP/M), arguably another flop.

  3. Peter Jones says:

    After reading the Dvorak article (for fun?), I now remember why I despise ‘The Press’ and why I only read PC Mag, Computerworld, etc for the advertisements (which I guess is the only thing the publishers care about). They are just so often completely or partially wrong that one can seldom tell the truth from fiction and opinion.

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