[Wlug] Pascal madness?

Stephen C. Daukas stephen@daukas.com
Fri, 26 Jul 2002 08:06:46 -0400

At 09:03 PM 7/25/2002, James wrote:
>I'm trying to teach myself pascal.  What with the new release of Freepascal,
>and what with Delphi6/Kylix being out, I figure I should get something done
>while I'm out pounding pavement.
>Anyone know of any used book stores that have a decent computer section?
>I tried Another Story on Stafford St., but he didn't have anything for 
>pascal. :(

The question is, why Pascal?  Delphi does C++ too (C++ Builder uses the 
same development environment)...  In any event, the book for Pascal is by 
Nicholas Wirth (the creator of the language).  It is a small black covered 
book that looks more like a journal than a text.  If memory serves, it is 
called something like "Data Structures and Algorithms using Pascal."  I 
taught from this book some 18 years ago at BU...  I liken it to K&R on C 
and C++ - dense, but very useful.

Having no idea what your background is, If you are interested in "tooling 
up" but what to do it slowly, there are some other ways to go.  The two 
languages that top my list are Python and Java.  Java is very popular and 
gives you all the OOP concepts you would need, and it has the advantage 
that it doesn't suffer from the issues C++ does (specifically, backwards 
compatibility with C). Having said that, it is very C/C++ like in 
syntax.  The book for Java is "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel.  He also 
has a book under the title of "Thinking in C++".

Python is interesting.  Python is often used as "executable pseudocode" 
and, depending on what you are going after, it may be the ticket.  Then 
again, Java on your resume will get you hired before Python will.  ;-)

As a total aside, you might also want to have a look at Martin Fowler's 
"UML Distilled".  UML is very useful for programming and Martin is an 
expert.  I know him from my days at OMG (a standards organization) where he 
worked on the committee that dealt with UML.  A very fast talking Brit with 
a marvelous sense of humor.  His book is the book for UML.