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Screenshot of the Turbo C++ IDE
|Initial release||May 1990|
2006 / September 5, 2006
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
Turbo C++ is a discontinued C++ compiler and integrated development environment and computer language originally from Borland. Most recently it was distributed by Embarcadero Technologies, which acquired all of Borland's compiler tools with the purchase of its CodeGear division in 2008. The original Turbo C++ product line was put on hold after 1994 and was revived in 2006 as an introductory-level IDE, essentially a stripped-down version of their flagship C++Builder. Turbo C++ 2006 was released on September 5, 2006 and was available in 'Explorer' and 'Professional' editions. The Explorer edition was free to download and distribute while the Professional edition was a commercial product. In October 2009 Embarcadero Technologies discontinued support of its 2006 C++ editions. As such, the Explorer edition is no longer available for download and the Professional edition is no longer available for purchase from Embarcadero Technologies. Turbo C++ is succeeded by C++Builder.
The first release of Turbo C++ was made available during the MS-DOS era on personal computers. Version 1.0, running on MS-DOS, was released in May 1990. An OS/2 version was produced as well. Version 1.01 was released on February 28, 1991, running on MS-DOS. The latter was able to generate both COM and EXE programs and was shipped with Borland's Turbo Assembler compiler for Intel x86 processors. The initial version of the Turbo C++ compiler was based on a front end developed by TauMetric (TauMetric was later acquired by Sun Microsystems and their front end was incorporated in Sun C++ 4.0, which shipped in 1994).This compiler supported the AT&T 2.0 release of C++.
Turbo C++ 3.0 was released in 1991 (shipping on November 20), and came in amidst expectations of the coming release of Turbo C++ for Microsoft Windows. Initially released as an MS-DOS compiler, 3.0 supported C++ templates, Borland's inline assembler, and generation of MS-DOS mode executables for both 8086 real mode and 286 protected mode (as well as the Intel 80186.) 3.0 implemented AT&T C++ 2.1, the most recent at the time. The separate Turbo Assembler product was no longer included, but the inline-assembler could stand in as a reduced functionality version.
Soon after the release of Windows 3.0, Borland updated Turbo C++ to support Windows application development. The Turbo C++ 3.0 for Windows product was quickly followed by Turbo C++ 3.1 (and then Turbo C++ 4.5). It's possible that the jump from version 1.x to version 3.x was in part an attempt to link Turbo C++ release numbers with Microsoft Windows versions; however, it seems more likely that this jump was simply to synchronize Turbo C and Turbo C++, since Turbo C 2.0 (1989) and Turbo C++ 1.0 (1990) had come out roughly at the same time, and the next generation 3.0 was a merger of both the C and C++ compiler.
Starting with version 3.0, Borland segmented their C++ compiler into two distinct product-lines: "Turbo C++" and "Borland C++". Turbo C++ was marketed toward the hobbyist and entry-level compiler market, while Borland C++ targeted the professional application development market. Borland C++ included additional tools, compiler code-optimization, and documentation to address the needs of commercial developers. Turbo C++ 3.0 could be upgraded with separate add-ons, such as Turbo Assembler and Turbo Vision 1.0.
Version 4.0 was released in November 1993 and was notable (among other things) for its robust support of templates. In particular, Borland C++ 4 was instrumental in the development of the Standard Template Library, expression templates, and the first advanced applications of template metaprogramming. With the success of the Pascal-evolved product Delphi, Borland ceased work on their Borland C++ suite and concentrated on C++Builder for Windows. C++Builder shared Delphi's front-end application framework, but retained the Borland C++ back-end compiler. Active development on Borland C++/Turbo C++ was suspended until 2006 (see below.)
- Turbo C++ v1.01 and Turbo C v2.01 can be downloaded, free of charge, from Borland's Antique Software website.
- Turbo C 3.0 (DOS) was included in the Turbo C Suite 1.0, which is no longer sold by Borland.