What is the difference between Pascal and Delphi? I heard they're like the same language?

Delphi is a rapid development system using Object Pascal for its language. A fancy IDE, like Visual C++ uses C++. Delphi came first.

In the beginning there was Niklaus Wirth, the allfather.
He created Pascal as a language to teach structured programming to his students.

Then came along Frank Borland (or so the legend goes, Frank doesn't actually exist) who commercialised the language into its most successful version ever, Turbo Pascal.

Then came the guys who had this funky newfangled idea about everything being an object who created a language they called Smalltalk along those ideas.
This became a hit in certain circles, along others with a partially bald guy called Bjarne Stroustrup who adapted C to use the same principles and called it C++ (I think because the name D was already taken).

Frank heard about this and created an OO version of his Turbo Pascal, aptly named "Turbo Pascal with objects" (don't laugh, that's what they called it).
This used a syntax similar to very early C++ versions, but was later abandoned when the C++ syntax was standardised on what's now ANSI C++. Among other things it called the things we now call classes 'objects' which was rather confusing to many people.

Frank created a new OO version of Pascal and named it simply "ObjectPascal".
This came with a library for creating text-based windowed screen applications called Turbo Vision.
Turbo Vision was extremely powerful but rather cumbersome (I've used it, creating for example a menu bar could result in several dozen nested constructor calls, trying to keep track of the braces was a nightmare).

At around that time Windows programming was starting to take off and people were looking for a Pascal version for the new operating system.
Frank didn't need to think twice to see that his ObjectPascal would be perfect, and created Turbo Pascal for Windows.
This replaced Turbo Vision with ObjectWindows which was very similar but produced Windows code instead of DOS.

This was all good and well but as with everything people wanted something easier to create their user interfaces.
Frank and his coconspirators DavidI and others came up with a graphical editor for Windows screens that could generate ObjectPascal sourcecode.
They also replaced ObjectWindows with the Visual Component Library which was a more easily extensible library that could be used to create components for component based programming.

They named it Delphi and another legend was born.

So yes, under the hood Delphi and Pascal have a striking resemblence. But Delphi is far larger than Pascal ever was, and while all legal Pascal code should compile (given availability of the needed libraries of course) the reverse is far from true.

So far for the short illustrated history of Delphi.

What I've used:
Turbo Pascal 4
Turbo Pascal 5
Turbo Pascal with Objects (5.5)
Turbo Pascal 6 (Object Pascal)
Turbo Pascal 7 (Object Pascal)
Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5
Delphi 1
Delphi 2
Delphi 3
Delphi 4
Delphi 5
Delphi 7

jwentings story is a good one.

There is a little more sweet and sour in this. A fellow called Anders Hejlsberg worked for many years at Borland. His talents gave us Turbo Pascal and later Delphi.

Microsoft hired him away and made him the chief designer for C#. No wonder Visual C# looks a lot like Delphi gone C/C++/Java, or should I say what Delphi should have been.

Niklaus Wirth wrote Pascal as a teaching language, structured to make grading his students easier for himself. No offense, but the modern Pascal has not been able to shed all of that stodgy image that a Swiss professor's mind gave it so many years ago.


I understand that this is an old post, but after reading the answers I think that there are some points left out. Although it is true that Borland has been the major driving force behind pascal with its IDEs, compilers, header translations and utility libraries yet there is more than Borland in Pascal. (by the way Borlands latest Delphi vresions are Delphi .Net and Delphi 2005 for .Net platform of Microsoft using CLR; and Kylix which (released w/ Delphi 7) is the identical platform for Linux)

There are lots of other Delphi compilers, to start with there is GCC's (GNU compiler collection) GPC and also Bloodshed Dev-Pascal Compiler, Free Pascal, TMT Pascal etc... (lots more which can be used both on Linux&Win and provide source code portability)

Loren Soth

It’s nice to be remembered for the old days and the great programming Borland did then. I’m Frank Borland, and I know how much work went into these products.

I disappeared for quite some time, and I have to say I’ve missed the people and community that made our products so great. So now I’m back, and raring to go. I want everyone to know, I’m here to make amends with all you loyal developers I used to know so well. Expect some changes, and do tell me what you need here at my blog:

Hi Frank,
It's a bit funny that you resurrect your presence in forums by resurrecting a 6 year-old thread (which we usually frown upon). Anyways, welcome to Daniweb!

I should bow my head to you as I started my programming life with your products. Back when Borland still carried time-unlimited trial-versions of Borland Delphi (back in late 90s), it was an awesome tool for me as a teenager. I programmed in Delphi for probably about 6 years and enjoyed that very much. The Delphi language (object-pascal) and the RAD tools of Borland were really awesome products. For a while, I was a strong advocate of Delphi as a language and as a RAD tool. I'm now almost exclusively programming in C++ (with some C and Python), but I still have not found any RAD/GUI tool that even comes close to Delphi's VCL (except maybe the C++Builder version of VCL). So, thank you very much sir, without your awesome products I may never have got so into programming.

Welcome to Daniweb, hope you'll stick around!

<Dani's Rant>

Hi Frank! :) I'm about to rant at Mike, so feel free to ignore me.

It's a bit funny that you resurrect your presence in forums by resurrecting a 6 year-old thread

Probably because this thread comes up as #2 when you do a site search for "Borland Delphi".

(which we usually frown upon)

We also encourage people to search before your post because there might already be an existing article out there about the topic you're about to create a new thread for. You can't have it both ways!!

Welcome to Daniweb, hope you'll stick around!

Ditto. And don't mind Mike ;)

Oh, and I learned to program with Borland C++ :)

Hi jwenting and all, your potted history of Turbo Pascal really took me back, and it’s all pretty much correct bar the fact that you say I don’t exist?

As Mark Twain once said, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I’m Frank Borland and I’m back after having plenty of time and space to think. Once again I’m ready to create the kind of powerful – and affordable – development tools that put Borland on the map in the first place.

So please tell me what you need 6 years on. Or tell me what you don’t. And let’s get it done; http://frankborland.wordpress.com/

it’s all pretty much correct bar the fact that you say I don’t exist?

Make us believe it then ;) Plans to move to Embarcadero, help out DavidI ? They can really use your help...

And Frank do check the signature facility on your profile and add your blog link there. And Turbo Pascal 3 was liberation on MSDOS pcs after starting with "compile, run and pick the report print from shelf" Burroughs Standard Pascal in 1985.

Thanks pyTony.

Profile duly updated.

Will pitch in here as required.

I've a modest programmer, I've studied Pascal-base in 1995 for the first time because someone gave me a free copy of "Delphi 1 - complete", and it was love (I worked with Clipper...).
Read these comments, I was moved, I don't know why...
If you are really Frank Borland, I thank you very much for being there, and I'd like shake your hand.
I apologize for the comment unprofessional, but it all comes from the joy of programming in Delphi (7) every day.

yes, they're the same language.
delphi is visual pascal.
delphi only running under windows, but pascal can running dos and windows

Mr. Borland. May I add my personal "Thank you!" to everyone else's? I still have my Turbo Pascal and Turbo Assembler Reference Guides. OK - so now you know I've been around a while...but, my career took a tangent to networks and project management.

Glad to see you're back - so am I. ;-)

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