Pascal is an influential imperative and procedural programming language, designed in 1968–1969 and published in 1970 by Niklaus Wirth as a small and efficient language intended to encourage good programming practices using structured programming and data structuring.
However, Pascal today is a modern programming language. Its golden era is from the late 80's to the early of 2000's. Though today it's no longer widely used, Pascal compilers are still actively used and developed. The syntax is simple and easy, yet powerful. Pascal compilers are known as very very fast compilers that make C-like compilers look like a bunch of snails.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Clear syntax
Pro Understanding of basics
Because of the verbosity and easy syntax, Pascal language is relatively easier to be learned and understood, even for someone who has no programming knowledge. It's said that Pascal code —if written well— is like reading pseudo code.
Pascal / Object pascal was used in schools during the 2000's to teach kids the basics of object oriented programming.
Pro Tons of academic reading
Being known as the programming language for education, especially in the 90's, there many academic reading and tutorials available on the internet.
Pro Cross platform
The compiler is fast, really fast. Compared to C/C++, the delphi compiler is designed to compile a decent sized desktop application in seconds rather than minutes.
Using the Free Pascal Compiler (the main Pascal distribution) you can code in a language that can be procedural and imperative now, but it can became object-oriented simply adding a directive at the start of the source
Pro Enforces good programming practice
Numerous strong compile time checks with optional runtime checks ensure one doesn't do stupid things and even when one does (because the compiler can't prove it at compile time), the binary will check and report it at runtime.
Correct modular programming implementation with proper namespacing, no file inclusion hack.
Pro Still active
From the early roots of Pascal, Delphi has been developed and is still actively supported. It is used in many desktop applications today, and even supports multi platform coding.
Pro Assembler Code and DLL/SO creation
You can put Assembler code in Intel or AT&T formats, to achieve great results of speed and accuracy. It is possible to create Dynamic Link Libraries or their equivalent in Unix-like systems so it's relatively easy to use and powerful.
Pro Rich existing libraries
Both shipped with implementations and spread all over the web. Both natively written or bindings to libraries written in other languages. Typically to build non-trivial applications there's no need to surf the web as many things are implemented already. Streaming, output templating, socket & networking, web, database, image manipulation, high performance graphics, (de)compression, (de|en)cryption, regex, unit testing, json manipulation, google API, indexing, multithreading, external process management, the list just goes on and on!
Pro Well balanced for desktop development
For desktop development, Delphi is productive, the code is easy to understand, compilation speed is blazing, and it produces well performing applications that are easy to deploy. The perfect balance between C# and C++.
Pro Automatic Memory Management
The new Delphi compilers are powered by Automatic Reference Counting to ease development.
Pro Easy GUI creation
Pro Extensive third party libraries
There are large collections of third party components, many free which enable developers to add wide ranging and complex functionality to their code with ease
Con Niche language
Most use of this language will be found in jobs supporting legacy code. It will be hard to find things to do with this language outside of that niche.
Con No language standard
After the Wirth era, practically there is no official Pascal language standard. Delphi used to be the dé facto standard especially for industry, but today Free Pascal is starting to get better support. However, there are some other Pascal language variants such as Smart Pascal, Oxygene (from RemObjects), Pascal ABC, etc. that each has its own styles.