December 8, 2010

Pascal Programming for Schools

Recently I found a very nice site focused on promoting Pascal language to schools and providing resources for teachers.

Recently I found a very nice site focused on promoting Pascal language to schools and providing resources for teachers. It is called "Pascal Programming for Schools" or PP4S, and is hosted at http://pp4s.co.uk/.

The site includes some limited tutorials, links to other resources (too bad my Essential Pascal book is missing), and some documents of its own explaining the rationale behind using Pascal (see the example the well written http://pp4s.co.uk/main/res-why-pascal.html).

What it very specific, and I found a great idea, is that the site hosts a large collection of programs written by students, gives programs ideas and challenges to teachers, and is really focused on helping students and teachers alike. For those in the UK, it also lists events and reference to official documentation.

Kudos to Dr Norman Morrison and Dr Douglas Morrison for setting up the site, a great resource for the Delphi community, even if not well know. I really guess that given the confusion surrounding other languages and options and the great qualities of Pascal (and Delphi) as learning tools, it would be a good time for the community at large to push the language back into schools... and for Embarcadero to make a "limited edition" of Delphi available for free for schools.

 





 

14 Comments

Pascal Programming for Schools 

 very good ;)
Comment by mohammadk [http://mohammaddesign.wordpress.com/] on December 8, 09:25

Pascal Programming for Schools 

 I think the best way to re-invigorate the use of
Pascal in schools would be for Embarcadero to offer
free versions of RAD Studio supporting development of
pure Object-Pascal programs only (i.e. no VCL, no
other support frameworks except Pascal standard
libraries).
Comment by Andrew Brehm [] on December 8, 09:51

Pascal Programming for Schools 

 Perhaps you could rework some of your teaching material into an 
Essential Pascal for Schools. But I guess Marco you would need a 
sponsor.
Comment by David Champion on December 8, 10:54

Pascal Programming for Schools 

I agree with Andrew Brehm, and it's something the 
community has been saying for years.  Delphi should be 
freely available to schools at all levels for teaching 
purposes.
Comment by Martin Binder [http://www.softwarebymartin.com] on December 8, 12:19

Pascal Programming for Schools 

My entire college academics (Computer Science) was in 
Pascal (except for the intro to the other languages). 
At that time, it was Turbo Pascal (non-object 
oriented).  The college received copies of Turbo 
Pacal on a very reduced academic rate. The copies 
could also be purchased by students from the 
university book store at a very reduced academic 
price as well.

Embarcadero, has no clue how to do things. Their 
prices are rediculous, their required maintenance 
fees to get bug fix upgrades are rediculous, and they 
are loosing customers because of it. My company has 
been using Delphi since 1995. We stopped buying major 
licenses at Delphi 7. We purchased one license of 
Delphi 2010 only to bring one product up to speed 
with the newest OS's. The company has gone to web 
portal apps with Java code in the background. We made 
the move a year and a half ago.  They lost not only 
our company in the Delphi Realm, but alo the 
Interbase Realn as well when they lost our company.

I still personally program in delphi as a hobby, but 
I am slowly learning java and will be moving over to 
our company java team in the not so distant future.

Good Luck Embaradero, you are going to need it!
Comment by Shane on December 8, 16:34

Pascal Programming for Schools 

@Andrew Brehm

Actually VCL and other Win32 widget sets are not 
required anymore. I investigate now HTML5 & JavaScript 
GUI with the Delphi backend, interacting using Ajax.

It's incredibly what the free JavaScript libraries 
offer right now: Dojo, Ext Core, jQuery, RightJS and 
others. Just look at Ext Core Documentation page: 
http://www.sencha.com/products/core/docs/
All that works on any platform: Windows, Linux, OSX, 
Android etc. And all that progress very fast.

Do we need the VCL anymore?
Comment by Kryvich on December 9, 07:26

Pascal Programming for Schools 

Yes, a lot of application works best without 
Javascript and using native widgets. I can't see why 
should I throw away all of the benefits of OOP, 
especially for a GUI, to deliver a lot of unreadable 
code intermingled with GUI descriptor elements. And 
running into another application with a lot of 
boundaries when it comes to complex client 
applications. Yes, one could achieve now something 
decent, but at what price? 
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on December 9, 12:01

Pascal Programming for Schools 

@Luigi D. Sandon

It's all about the multiplatform.

Moreover, we can create a Win32 desktop application 
with the build-in browser engine running GUI, and the 
speed optimized Delphi code on the backstage.
- No need for expensive third-party libraries like 
DevExperts.
- One rich UI widget system for an every platform.
- No difference between the desktop and on-line 
version of the application - all versions look & feel 
identical for a user.
- Easy embedding of the application to the company 
site, for example, the demo version of the program.
Comment by Kryvich on December 9, 16:15

Pascal Programming for Schools 

Multiplatform can be achieved in many different ways, 
wihout throwing away the underlying platform power to 
JIT (in the best case) or interpret Javascript code 
and having to draw entire controls the Swing way. And 
I prefer to use the platform widgest set instead to 
have application delivering each its own look and 
feel like too many web application do. The more 
complex the application is, the more users like to 
feel "at home" without having to learn different 
paradigmas each time.
You also fails to notice that not all GUIs are just a 
frontend to "backends", there are many that need to 
exploit a client power fully. Frankly, I see little 
reason to have a six-code, 16GB RAM machine just to 
run a browser and execute constrained Javascript. I 
prefer to use it a better way, and I need a better 
language than Javascript to write client-side code.
Good libraries like DevExperts are not expensive. 
They repay themselves soon. And libraries like ExtJS 
ARE NOT FREE as well, unless you develop GPL licensed 
code.
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on December 10, 19:55

Pascal Programming for Schools 

I think, you exaggerate JavaScript requirements to 
power of a computer. Every day we visit web sites 
containing a lot of Java Scripts, and they work quickly 
enough, even on the netbooks. For an example: Gmail, 
Google Docs etc. And JavaScripts engines such as 
Google's V8 improve every day.
Nevertheless I understand your other arguments, I also 
like Delphi much more than JavaScript. In summary: it 
is good to have one more choice in programming with 
Delphi.
Comment by Kryvich on December 10, 22:59

Javascript 

I was not talking about requirements to run 
Javascript. I meant I don't understand why should I 
use a powerful hardware just to run a browser and its 
Javascript engine. IMHO it can do a lot more, and I 
prefer to exploit its power. Neverthless, Javascript 
performance are a big topic in latest browsers. 
Performance improvements are advertised a lot, 
meaning that actual performance are not so good. And 
that's why ChromeOS has NaCl.
But apart that, I do not understand why despite the 
power of today clients we should return to 
a "terminal" mode that puts a lot of load on servers 
while clients just display results with some GUI 
interaction. I prefer by far a "distributed" model 
where the client takes its processing load too. Ok, 
iPads and other mobile devices has not that power and 
require to be used more as "terminals", but when the 
power is available, why should I give the user an 
inferior experience?
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on December 11, 17:44

Pascal Programming for Schools 

>>Kryvich

The RDP protocol already solved the problem of Webapps 
in the context of an enterprise and virtualization 
does this too.

It is true one cannot install thousands of 
applications on a PC - no one needs thousand apps. 
Only in a centralistic envrionment you can have 
thousand apps.

Webdevelopment still makes sense. Lugi is right - the 
only concept that survived was the workgroup the 
proove is Linux - UNIX/tcpip made it and not IBM SNA, 
Novell or Lan Manager (also known as SAMBA:)).

It was for sure not correct trying to solve everything 
via the desktop metaphor and applications, especially 
storing documents in 3NF in relational databases. 

Putting desktops on the web did not make it better. 
ExtJS and JQuery origin finally form the idea ob 
having a web desktop, so combining parts of a web 
desktop will then finally lead to web desktops:). They 
failed, simply because they are the wrong abstraction.

Web development solves issues via a document centric 
approaches.

Mike
Comment by on December 13, 17:28

Pascal Programming for Schools 

Great Idea - For now its http://www.freepascal.org/ - 
not as rich or advanced as current Delphi version but is 
FREE and will teach students of all ages how to use 
Pascal for FREE. Which of course is the goal, to get 
more people familiar with Pascal and its ease of use. 
The simplicity and strong typing is what drew me in 
initially way back in the 1980's. I was a Fortran, 
COBOL, Assembler guy back then but when I used Turbo 
Pascal I was hooked. I am now looking to teach my 
children programming and Pascal is obviously what I will 
be using. Thank you for the encouragement and 
information, the website will come in handy for my 
homeschooling Pascal class!
Comment by Nichael on December 23, 23:06

Pascal Programming for Schools 

 when I was in the university, the first programming 
language I learned was Pascal.  After 15 years of 
working and learning other languages, I still consider 
Pascal as the best for teaching students how to 
program.
Comment by john [http://vpsnotes.com] on February 13, 05:55


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