TopSpeed Pascal

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An ISO compliant Pascal development system for 16 bit OS/2, Windows and DOS code with object oriented extensions that are a mix of the O-O extensions from Borland Pascal and those from Oberon, can be run natively or by cross compiling from DOS. System now owned by Soft Velocity who use it as a utility development system for their Clarion database product and an OS/2 compatible product is no longer being offered. Originally a development of the TopSpeed Modula-2 compiler and shares the same environment and back-end.

Although the TopSpeed Pascal compiler was by many not considered to be as good as the Modula-2 variant it received some largely undeserved criticism for sundry aspects of the system, not the least for not being Turbo Pascal compatible, especially considering that TopSpeed head honcho Niels Jensen was the founder of Borland. That was actually by design as Jensen thought the Object Pascal extensions developed by Apple and later taken on by Borland were slightly misguided, but TS Pascal did come with a Turbo Pascal converter and later versions of the toolkit came with a "Turbo Pascal Mode" that allowed the system to compile TP code with faily little changes. The actual code produced by TopSpeed was considerably better than what was put out by Turbo Pascal but then again the latter was not exactly known for producing fast or good code, and the library supplied with TS Pascal was considered by many to be the best available and was certainly the most extensive one for a PC Pascal in the early 90's.

The TopSpeed development environment

One unusual aspect of the TopSpeed system was that you could buy variants of the development system for Modula-2, C and C++ in addition to the Pascal compiler and they all shared a back end. Not only could you call C, C++ or Pascal code from the Modula compiler (and vise versa) but with later incarnations of the system you could mix and match the languages in one source file without resorting to any containers. An unique feature in its time and only one or two other development systems have offered similar features since. After Clarion took over the sales of the TopSpeed system the Clarion 4GL database language was ported to the TopSpeed system (and remains based on it to this day) and became one of the interchangeable front ends.

The development environment also contained a an automatic make facility, an editor, librarian, source-level debugger and sundry minor utilities, and was available in two versions the standard version contained the environment, tools and compiler while the TopSpeed Pascal Extended Edition basically bundled the standard edition with TopSpeed TechKit. The Pascal compiler could also be used to develop software for the Psion series 3 in a roundabout way if used with the PSION s3 SDK, as the environment allowed you to develop Pascal code with C code, headers and libraries you could get functional s3 apps by linking the Pascal code with the required C headers/libs and then compiling everything with the PSION SDK, in rare cases needing a little bit of glue C code.

Another unusual and somewhat unique aspect of the system was its ability to make multi-threaded code and dynamic libraries (DLL's) for DOS. The TopSpeed systems was developed under OS/2 v1.x and the developers were so taken with the threading model that they duplicated it for the DOS environment giving you not only the obvious benefit of being able to make multi-threaded DOS applications but also the option of making portable multi-threaded apps since the TS version for doses copied the OS/2 version down to a tee.

Version

  • Last known version: 3.10

Prerequisites

  • For Windows 3.x or Win-OS/2 programming the TopSpeed TechKit is required, but the tools from it integrate into the TopSpeed environment.
  • Although you can develop OS/2 Presentation Manager applications without the OS/2 SDK, it is highly recommended that you use it since the PM support of TopSpeed Pascal is rather weak in the parts were tools from the SDK already existed.
  • DOS 3.0 or later and/or OS/2 1.3 or later.

License

  • Commercial - Discontinued

Author

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