Borland Turbo C

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Due to technical limitations, "Turbo C#" redirects here. For the article on the Turbo C# IDE, see Turbo C Sharp.

Turbo C is an Integrated Development Environment and compiler for the C programming language from Borland. First introduced in 1987, it was noted for its integrated development environment, small size, fast compile speed, comprehensive manuals and low price.

In May 1990, Borland replaced Turbo C with Turbo C++. In 2006, Borland reintroduced the Turbo moniker.

Early history[edit]

In the early 1980s, Borland enjoyed considerable success with their Turbo Pascal product and it became a popular choice when developing applications for the PC. Borland followed up that success by releasing Turbo Basic, Turbo Prolog and Turbo C.

Turbo C had the same properties as Turbo Pascal: an integrated development environment (IDE), a fast compiler, a good editor and a competitive price. Turbo C was not as successful as the Pascal-sister product. First, C was a language for professional programming and systems development rather than a school language. Turbo C competed with other professional programming tools (Microsoft C, Lattice C, Watcom C, etc.). Turbo C did, however, have advantages in speed of compiled code, large project support and price. It is developed in C.

Version history[edit]

Version 1.0, Released on May 13, 1987, offered the first integrated edit-compile-run development environment for C on IBM PCs. The software was, like many Borland products of the time, bought from another company and branded with the "Turbo" name, in this case Wizard C by Bob Jervis[1] (Borland's flagship product at that time, Turbo Pascal, which at this time did not have pull-down menus, would be given a facelift with version 4 released late in 1987 to make it look more like Turbo C.) It ran in 384 kB of memory. It allowed inline assembly with full access to C symbolic names and structures, supported all memory models, and offered optimizations for speed, size, constant folding, and jump elimination.[2]

Version 1.5, in January 1988 was an incremental improvement over version 1.0. It included more sample programs, improved manuals and bug fixes. It was shipped on five 360 KB diskettes of uncompressed files, and came with sample C programs, including a stripped down spreadsheet called mcalc. This version introduced the <conio.h> header file (which provided fast, PC-specific console I/O routines). (Note: The copyright date in the startup screen is 1987, but the files in the system distribution were created in January 1988.)

Version 2.0, in 1989 was released was in late 1988, and featured the first "blue screen" version, which would be typical of all future Borland releases for MS-DOS. The American release did not have Turbo Assembler or a separate debugger. (These were sold separately as Turbo Assembler.) Turbo C, Asm, and Debugger were sold together as a suite. This seems to describe another release: Featured Turbo Debugger, Turbo Assembler, and an extensive graphics library. This version of Turbo C was also released for the Atari ST, but distributed in Germany only.

Note on later releases: The name "Turbo C" was not used after version 2.0, because with the release of Turbo C++ 1.0 with 1990, the two products were folded into a single product. That first C++ compiler was developed under contract by a company in San Diego and was one of the first true compilers for C++ (until then, most C++ work was done with pre-compilers that generated C code). The next version was named Borland C++ to emphasize its flagship status and completely rewritten in-house, with Peter Kukol as the lead engineer. The Turbo C++ name was briefly dropped, eventually reappearing as Turbo C++ 3.0. There was never a 2.0 of the Turbo C++ product series.

  • 1987: Turbo C 1.0
  • 1987: Turbo C 1.1
  • 1988: Turbo C 1.5
  • 1989: Turbo C 2.0 (now with integrated debugger, also for the Atari ST)
  • 1990: Turbo C++ 1.0
  • 1991: Turbo C++ 1.01
  • 1991: Turbo C++ 2.0
  • 1992: Turbo C++ 3.0

Borland split the product (and later Pascal) in two lines, one for beginners and one for professionals. At first they were called "Turbo and Turbo Professional, later simply have "Turbo" and "Borland". They developed C++ to 1996 in these two lines next to the version of Turbo C++ 3.0 and Borland C++ 5.0. As with Turbo Pascal, there was also a Turbo C++ for Microsoft windows, which reached version 4.5.

Turbo C for the Atari ST ended with version 2.0. The program was not maintained by Borland, but the product was sold and renamed PureC.

From 1996, Delphi became Borland's principal and highly successful Pascal toolkit. A similar release based on C++ became Borland C++Builder, which replaced Borland C++.

Freeware release[edit]

In 2006, Borland's successor, Embarcadero Technologies, re-released Turbo C and the MS-DOS versions of the Turbo C++ compilers as freeware.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]