Pascal Compiler Recommendations Needed

Could you please recommend a compiler for Pascal which:
-uses Turbo Pascal (6.0 preferably) syntax;
-makes programs able to run on today's PCs and under today's OSs as Windows, Linux, OS2, though still remaining independent from them;
-is available (and freeware preferably), I can download or get to my e-mail;
-creates clean, small, quick codes; it should not build in routines when I don't need them actually (for example OOP, Graphics, SQL stuff, etc.);
-has a manual (syntax, compiler directives, functions of its routines and sys variables/constants).

I've heard about TP 5.5 and it would do, but then the users would need DOSBox, and I don't want to go backward either.
I've heard about GNU Pascal. It looks promising, but I'm afraid it would build a giant code for even a Hello World one. And it seems dependent of GCC.
I've heard about Free Pascal. It looks also promising, and maybe that will be the one, but I have heard about some who were not satisfied. What's wrong with Free Pascal?

What compiler do you use? What do you recommend aside this three above (very few)? Pascal cannot die, can it?

Comments

  • : Could you please recommend a compiler for Pascal which:
    : -uses Turbo Pascal (6.0 preferably) syntax;
    : -makes programs able to run on today's PCs and under today's OSs as Windows, Linux, OS2, though still remaining independent from them;
    : -is available (and freeware preferably), I can download or get to my e-mail;
    : -creates clean, small, quick codes; it should not build in routines when I don't need them actually (for example OOP, Graphics, SQL stuff, etc.);
    : -has a manual (syntax, compiler directives, functions of its routines and sys variables/constants).
    :
    : I've heard about TP 5.5 and it would do, but then the users would need DOSBox, and I don't want to go backward either.
    : I've heard about GNU Pascal. It looks promising, but I'm afraid it would build a giant code for even a Hello World one. And it seems dependent of GCC.
    : I've heard about Free Pascal. It looks also promising, and maybe that will be the one, but I have heard about some who were not satisfied. What's wrong with Free Pascal?
    :
    : What compiler do you use? What do you recommend aside this three above (very few)? Pascal cannot die, can it?
    :
    I myself use Delphi. Though not free, it is almost fully compatible with TP. In fact it is an extension of TP, also created by Borland.
    I've used Free Pascal occasionally, but never truly got around to use it on a large scale, because with TP 7 and Delphi I can write the code I need for the platforms I need them to run on.
    A console program in Delphi starts at about 16 kB. A GUI application starts at around 300-350 kB, unless you use runtime packages. Then it starts at about 16 kB.
  • : I myself use Delphi. Though not free, it is almost fully compatible with TP. In fact it is an extension of TP, also created by Borland.
    : I've used Free Pascal occasionally, but never truly got around to use it on a large scale, because with TP 7 and Delphi I can write the code I need for the platforms I need them to run on.
    : A console program in Delphi starts at about 16 kB. A GUI application starts at around 300-350 kB, unless you use runtime packages. Then it starts at about 16 kB.
    :
    Thank you for the prompt reply. I consider to take a step towards Delphi, though I am afraid of "extensions". I like Pascal for being close to assembler, and I would leave it with bad feeling. I rather glance towards lower level programming (asm) than above, for systems like SQL which is for expert users not for programmers, I believe.

    TP6.0 had the "asm...end;" utility I considered a gift. It worked flexibly, and made TP even stronger. Not me, of course, I was just learning to program then, and I have remained at that level. I bought a PC last year, and maybe I can do a kind of restart.

    Sorry about the novel. I just wanted to express my point of view.

    It surely helps you if I state what I wish to make:
    text based games with basic doings with the environment, as read/write files, read the keyboard (a few buttons only), and display on a character mode screen, maybe color. All I need for the Op systems is run the executable. And even a child should be able to start and play the game.

    Anyway 16 kB isn't bad. If it was more, I think the system would have more in the code than my doings, and it would feel like it wasn't I who had the power;)

    Any recommendations aside Delphi? Where are the secret weapons? I need a Pascal simple though hitting like a bullet from a sling. If you have a beta compiler that you think would do for my case, let me be among the testers. I have an Intel processed PC with both Windows Professional and Debian Linux on.
  • : : I myself use Delphi. Though not free, it is almost fully compatible with TP. In fact it is an extension of TP, also created by Borland.
    : : I've used Free Pascal occasionally, but never truly got around to use it on a large scale, because with TP 7 and Delphi I can write the code I need for the platforms I need them to run on.
    : : A console program in Delphi starts at about 16 kB. A GUI application starts at around 300-350 kB, unless you use runtime packages. Then it starts at about 16 kB.
    : :
    : Thank you for the prompt reply. I consider to take a step towards Delphi, though I am afraid of "extensions". I like Pascal for being close to assembler, and I would leave it with bad feeling. I rather glance towards lower level programming (asm) than above, for systems like SQL which is for expert users not for programmers, I believe.
    :
    : TP6.0 had the "asm...end;" utility I considered a gift. It worked flexibly, and made TP even stronger. Not me, of course, I was just learning to program then, and I have remained at that level. I bought a PC last year, and maybe I can do a kind of restart.
    :
    : Sorry about the novel. I just wanted to express my point of view.
    :
    : It surely helps you if I state what I wish to make:
    : text based games with basic doings with the environment, as read/write files, read the keyboard (a few buttons only), and display on a character mode screen, maybe color. All I need for the Op systems is run the executable. And even a child should be able to start and play the game.
    :
    : Anyway 16 kB isn't bad. If it was more, I think the system would have more in the code than my doings, and it would feel like it wasn't I who had the power;)
    :
    : Any recommendations aside Delphi? Where are the secret weapons? I need a Pascal simple though hitting like a bullet from a sling. If you have a beta compiler that you think would do for my case, let me be among the testers. I have an Intel processed PC with both Windows Professional and Debian Linux on.
    :
    Delphi also has the [b]asm[/b] word, as well as the [b]inline[/b]. As for the higher functions, it makes linking to DirectX and multimedia stuff a lot easier, and makes it easier to link to DLLs, so you don't need to reinvent the wheel for each game.
    Another advantage of Delphi is, that it has a Linux compiler called Kylix. I don't program for Linux, so I don't know how the compatibility is between them, but in theory you don't need to change your program to also compile it on Linux.
  • Thanks.
    Yesterday I found Delphi 2006 Studio on the CD of a magazine. I brought it home. This thing was huge, all right. It took minutes just to erase the monster from my hard disk. Delphi 2006 won't ever be an option. For one, its Agreement does not allow me to distribute my future programs no other than executable form. Probably this is the case for older Delphi systems of Borland, too. If I want my games to be portable, I should provide source code, at least in request.

    Nevertheless, Delphi will remain in my grace. A thorough search for Delphi systems would not be a waste, for sure, though I am eager to DO something programming now. The searches for Pascal have frustrated me somewhat. The rummaging in dusty DOS based junk, broken links, fakes, and corrupt archives do me no good.
  • : Thanks.
    : Yesterday I found Delphi 2006 Studio on the CD of a magazine. I brought it home. This thing was huge, all right. It took minutes just to erase the monster from my hard disk. Delphi 2006 won't ever be an option. For one, its Agreement does not allow me to distribute my future programs no other than executable form. Probably this is the case for older Delphi systems of Borland, too. If I want my games to be portable, I should provide source code, at least in request.
    :
    : Nevertheless, Delphi will remain in my grace. A thorough search for Delphi systems would not be a waste, for sure, though I am eager to DO something programming now. The searches for Pascal have frustrated me somewhat. The rummaging in dusty DOS based junk, broken links, fakes, and corrupt archives do me no good.
    :
    No matter what the licence tells you, you may always distribute the code you write in any for you like. Its true that you may not distribute the source codes, which came along with Delphi, but Borland cannot claim proprietary rights to the code you have written.
  • : Thank you for the prompt reply. I consider to take a step towards Delphi, though I am afraid of "extensions". I like Pascal for being close to assembler, and I would leave it with bad feeling. I rather glance towards lower level programming (asm) than above, for systems like SQL which is for expert users not for programmers, I believe.
    :
    : TP6.0 had the "asm...end;" utility I considered a gift. It worked flexibly, and made TP even stronger. Not me, of course, I was just learning to program then, and I have remained at that level. I bought a PC last year, and maybe I can do a kind of restart.
    :
    : Sorry about the novel. I just wanted to express my point of view.
    :
    : It surely helps you if I state what I wish to make:
    : text based games with basic doings with the environment, as read/write files, read the keyboard (a few buttons only), and display on a character mode screen, maybe color. All I need for the Op systems is run the executable. And even a child should be able to start and play the game.
    :
    : Anyway 16 kB isn't bad. If it was more, I think the system would have more in the code than my doings, and it would feel like it wasn't I who had the power;)
    :
    : Any recommendations aside Delphi? Where are the secret weapons? I need a Pascal simple though hitting like a bullet from a sling. If you have a beta compiler that you think would do for my case, let me be among the testers. I have an Intel processed PC with both Windows Professional and Debian Linux on.
    :

    Personally I still use TP7. It runs DOS boxes, but it runs as smooth under Win XP *almost* always. I run graphics, mouse, assembly, etc...
    The only problem I have found (other than memory limitations which can be overcome with EMS/XMS) is that I am once again doodling in sound and my latest program will randomly crash. I tracked it down to the point where the Sound PIC is written to. I have a feeling that this random crash is windows accessing it at the same time as my program possibly? Other than that though, no complaints. Just like TP6 and a solid-small size compiler.

    Of course, Zibadian has a point with Delphi... wish I had moved into it ages ago. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    Phat Nat

  • Thank you both.
    Well, I made a few trials (as my time allowed) in Delphi 7 and Free Pascal (from magazine CD) and they created too large code for doing almost nothing, and I downloaded TP 5.5 from Borland and tested it in DosBox and in the CMD window of Windows. It satisfied me. I tried and ran a few important features:
    Read, Write, BlockRead, BlockWrite (files) - worked;
    Write, TextColor, GoToXY (Crt) - worked;
    ReadKey, KeyPressed (Crt/keyboard)- worked;
    (Hurray! Actually I don't need any more interaction with the environment.)
    Sound, NoSound (PC speaker) - did not work.
    If I compare the ~4k executable of the TP to the ~100k of the two former, I can easily decide now. Now I can start to work, and the Linux port can wait. I plan to distribute a Kylix compile ready source for Linux users in case they don't have/want the DosBox.
    I think I will have enough memory for my current game plan. Perhaps the Pascal compiler list will enlarge, and I will find the ideal system for the more serious games of the distant future of my programming.
    And thank you for the Delphi recommendation again. I am leaning towards Delphi. As I investigated Standard Pascal lately, it does not seem to meet my ideas.
  • : Thank you both.
    : Well, I made a few trials (as my time allowed) in Delphi 7 and Free Pascal (from magazine CD) and they created too large code for doing almost nothing, and I downloaded TP 5.5 from Borland and tested it in DosBox and in the CMD window of Windows. It satisfied me. I tried and ran a few important features:
    : Read, Write, BlockRead, BlockWrite (files) - worked;
    : Write, TextColor, GoToXY (Crt) - worked;
    : ReadKey, KeyPressed (Crt/keyboard)- worked;
    : (Hurray! Actually I don't need any more interaction with the environment.)
    : Sound, NoSound (PC speaker) - did not work.
    : If I compare the ~4k executable of the TP to the ~100k of the two former, I can easily decide now. Now I can start to work, and the Linux port can wait. I plan to distribute a Kylix compile ready source for Linux users in case they don't have/want the DosBox.
    : I think I will have enough memory for my current game plan. Perhaps the Pascal compiler list will enlarge, and I will find the ideal system for the more serious games of the distant future of my programming.
    : And thank you for the Delphi recommendation again. I am leaning towards Delphi. As I investigated Standard Pascal lately, it does not seem to meet my ideas.
    :
    With Delphi it is also possible to create 5 kB programs, if you don't use the GUI, but set the APPTYPE to console. Then the "empty" program starts at 4 kB.
    If you intend to create programs for yourself or for other Delphi developers, then you can also use the "Build with runtime packages" option. This will create very small GUI programs: 16-32 kB for full database applications. The drawback is that a lot of .bpl files must be installed on the machine, which is (in D5) about 3-4 MB. These are already installed with Delphi and are shared between all applications.
  • [b][red]This message was edited by Csabi_B at 2006-5-2 4:19:4[/red][/b][hr]
    I switched from TP5.5 to Free Pascal. I tested Randomize/Random of TP5.5 yesterday and found it did not work properly under Windows, and it seemed to fail in DosBox. I also noticed during the tests that Windows executed my TP5.5 programs a thousand times slower than they should run (the test iterations pointed it out clearly). So I should not say TP 5.5 .exe's run under Windows. Just emulation.

    As a randomizer is vital in a game design, I had to abandon TP.

    I already compiled 20k .exe's in FPC, and maybe the code will get even smaller, currently I am trying to set the directives to optimize the code.
    Continued:
    My attepts to reduce the size of the "hello world" .exe (Fpc) failed in a way. I can't guess what the ~25k basic code exactly does with the safety codes (range/stack/io checks, debug info etc.) turned off. The $smartlink directive made the code even larger. The $apptype console/gui made no difference.

    I read in a Fpc manual I cannot use REAL textmode under Windows. They say only OS2 allows it, and they say Linux is basically textmode user,
    which isn't true in a way, because my Debian puts a penguin logo on the screen, so its character mode is also emulated.

    If Windows shuts text mode interrupts down and I cannot utilize the video RAM, maybe I should return to TP5.5 and "attach" a DOS boot disk to my games and run them from floppy. This would solve the portability problem, too: "1. Insert boot diskette into floppy drive and turn on your PC and boot the OS. 2. When you get the prompt, insert game diskette and type [game name] and press ENTER. 3. Have fun!" It looks like I am going back in time, but I cannot help. It is sooo simple!

  • : [b][red]This message was edited by Csabi_B at 2006-5-2 4:19:4[/red][/b][hr]
    : I switched from TP5.5 to Free Pascal. I tested Randomize/Random of TP5.5 yesterday and found it did not work properly under Windows, and it seemed to fail in DosBox. I also noticed during the tests that Windows executed my TP5.5 programs a thousand times slower than they should run (the test iterations pointed it out clearly). So I should not say TP 5.5 .exe's run under Windows. Just emulation.
    :
    : As a randomizer is vital in a game design, I had to abandon TP.
    :
    : I already compiled 20k .exe's in FPC, and maybe the code will get even smaller, currently I am trying to set the directives to optimize the code.
    : Continued:
    : My attepts to reduce the size of the "hello world" .exe (Fpc) failed in a way. I can't guess what the ~25k basic code exactly does with the safety codes (range/stack/io checks, debug info etc.) turned off. The $smartlink directive made the code even larger. The $apptype console/gui made no difference.
    :
    : I read in a Fpc manual I cannot use REAL textmode under Windows. They say only OS2 allows it, and they say Linux is basically textmode user,
    : which isn't true in a way, because my Debian puts a penguin logo on the screen, so its character mode is also emulated.
    :
    : If Windows shuts text mode interrupts down and I cannot utilize the video RAM, maybe I should return to TP5.5 and "attach" a DOS boot disk to my games and run them from floppy. This would solve the portability problem, too: "1. Insert boot diskette into floppy drive and turn on your PC and boot the OS. 2. When you get the prompt, insert game diskette and type [game name] and press ENTER. 3. Have fun!" It looks like I am going back in time, but I cannot help. It is sooo simple!
    :
    :

    TP7 had a bug on newer machines (>200Mhz lol) that caused it to crash. I'm sure the older versions would definately have timing issues. I use TP7 and the only timing problems that I get is that windows reduces the CPU to the program if the user hasn't touched the mouse/key/etc after about 5 seconds. Quite annoying. As for the Sound/No Sound, they don't work b/c most newer computers just use the Sound Card for PC noises, therefore, no PC speaker. Lastly, not sure about the problems with Randomize/Random, but again, this is fixed in TP7.

    Either way, hope your journey finds you an answer.

    Phat Nat

  • I tested Sound/NoSound under DOS (with the boot diskette method), it worked on my PC. Delay did not work properly, because it is just an iteration, and as my CPU is faster than Delay code was tuned for, it just delays less time. But this is no problem. I will write a slower iteration code if I need to delay.
    I solved the Randomize problem, too. It failed due to the speed of my PC, too. It works properly if I give some time to the clock to tick, and the RandSeed will be set properly.

    I think there will be no problem with TP5.5 under the booted DOS. At least not so many as I tried to port the game written in Free Pascal to the various operation systems with their various rules.
  • Hi,
    Ok I'm going top go out on a limb here. forget Delphi unless you want to do windows only development - you need deep pocket to be able to afford it anyway.

    TP 7 & preferably BP 7 are obtainable (you can even download them if you look hard enough). They are reliable enough. BP is the only one that supports DPMI - allows you to use XMS etc. Its failing is that it is still only 16 bit - but very fast & limited memory addressing.
    I recommend Virtual pascal. It supports Win,OS/2 & linux and you can download DPMI32 supprt for it. It has a great IDE, is fully BP 7 compliant also supports Delphi classes as well and has a built in 32 bit assembler. Because it is a true 32 bit compiler you don't have to worry about running out of memory etc. If you again search hard enough you will find excellent graphics units (DPMI) for it too. Best of all it's FREE & includes source code for the units. There are a few little bugs (as there are in BP!) but you can usually work around them.
    TMT pascal is similarly good & supported but you have to pay a lot for the commercial version and a couple of hundred squid for the personal version which does not permit you to distribute commercial execs.

    Try Vp21 and see for yourself - just google virtual pascal. :)


    : Could you please recommend a compiler for Pascal which:
    : -uses Turbo Pascal (6.0 preferably) syntax;
    : -makes programs able to run on today's PCs and under today's OSs as Windows, Linux, OS2, though still remaining independent from them;
    : -is available (and freeware preferably), I can download or get to my e-mail;
    : -creates clean, small, quick codes; it should not build in routines when I don't need them actually (for example OOP, Graphics, SQL stuff, etc.);
    : -has a manual (syntax, compiler directives, functions of its routines and sys variables/constants).
    :
    : I've heard about TP 5.5 and it would do, but then the users would need DOSBox, and I don't want to go backward either.
    : I've heard about GNU Pascal. It looks promising, but I'm afraid it would build a giant code for even a Hello World one. And it seems dependent of GCC.
    : I've heard about Free Pascal. It looks also promising, and maybe that will be the one, but I have heard about some who were not satisfied. What's wrong with Free Pascal?
    :
    : What compiler do you use? What do you recommend aside this three above (very few)? Pascal cannot die, can it?
    :

  • Thank you for the recommendation. It sounds good.
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