Virtual Pascal

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Virtual Pascal
Original author(s) Vitaly Miryanov
Developer(s) Allan Mertner
Stable release 2.1.279 / 2004-05-13
Development status unmaintained
Written in Object Pascal and Assembler
Operating system Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Linux
Type Compiler, Integrated Development Environment
License Freeware
Website vpascal.com (archived), Online community

Virtual Pascal is a free 32-bit Pascal compiler, IDE, and debugger for OS/2 and Microsoft Windows, with some limited Linux support. Although it had a wide user base in the late 1990s, VP has not evolved significantly for several years, and the owner declared in 2005 that development had ceased.[1] Virtual Pascal was developed by Vitaly Miryanov and later maintained by Allan Mertner.

Features[edit]

The compiler is compatible with Turbo Pascal, Borland Delphi, and Free Pascal, although language- and RTL-compatibility is limited for features introduced after Delphi v2 and FPC 1.0.x.

VP was primarily useful for the following purposes:

  • Easily port existing 16-bit Turbo Pascal programs to 32 bits
  • Port existing 16-bit OWL programs to 32-bit Windows (in theory)
  • Write console (text-mode) programs for several platforms
  • Pascal development using the 32-bit Windows API (the classic development, no COM!)
  • Learn object-oriented programming

Significant features of Virtual Pascal include:

  • Text-mode IDE
  • Debugger is integrated directly into the IDE and is reminiscent of Turbo Debugger
  • Fast compilation
  • Tool-chain written mostly in Intel assembly

History[edit]

The compiler was quite popular in the BBS scene, probably because of its OS/2 port and being one of the few affordable multi-target compilers. Also Turbo Pascal had been popular in the BBS scene too, but its successor, Delphi was suddenly for Windows only. Virtual Pascal provided a migration path for existing codebases.

There has been pressure from some users for Virtual Pascal to be made into open-source software. This has not been done, provided the following reasoning:

  • The compiler source is mostly written in Intel assembly which is hard to change and maintain.
  • Part of the run-time library is proprietary to Borland
  • The patch/diff tool to work around the above (provide changes to proprietary without distributing parts of the original) was proprietary and (win)16-bit only.
  • Documentation and help are maintained with expensive proprietary tools
  • There is nobody who fully understands the code. Alan said that some of the deeper areas were no-touch for him (original code by Vitaly)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Virtual Pascal: News Mon Apr 4, 2005 – 01:21:43 – "Virtual Pascal has died" I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I am sad to report that Virtual Pascal has died a quiet death. It was born in 1995, and died in 2005 at the ripe old age (for software) of 10 years."

See also[edit]

External links[edit]