When comparing Pascal / Object Pascal vs C++, the Slant community recommends Pascal / Object Pascal for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Pascal / Object Pascal is ranked 15th while C++ is ranked 22nd. The most important reason people chose Pascal / Object Pascal is:
Pascal / Object pascal was used in schools during the 2000's to teach kids the basics of object oriented programming.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pascal / Object pascal was used in schools during the 2000's to teach kids the basics of object oriented programming.
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.
Pro Cross platform
Pro Clear syntax
Pascal's syntax is clear and concise, for example:
procedure test(); begin DoSomething(); end;
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 Easy GUI creation
Visual Basic may have predated Delphi but Delphi was the ground breaking visual designer which set the standards expected today by most GUI developers. Its rich component set was well designed, structured and extensible, it even has the ability to display live data from the attached database in its data controls.
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 Fast compilation
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.
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++.
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 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 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 Language depth
Object Pascal is being used to write custom kernels (Ultibo) and operating-systems for various ARM boards. So the way you work with the code scales from low-level to pure OOP high-level. Object Pascal has the same level of depth that you find in C/C++ but with added productivity.
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
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 Fast execution
The compiler generates fast and optimized code. No stop-the-universe garbage collection.
Pro Automatic Memory Management
The new Delphi compilers are powered by Automatic Reference Counting to ease development.
Pro Excellent Database development
Pro Incredible GUI design tools
Lazarus and Delphi are both incredible GUI design tools, making rapid development a reality.
Making changes to a GUI doesn't mean switching tools or waiting for things to load, it's right there as part of your core tools.
Pro Available on a ridiculous number of platforms
FreePascal is available on/for Intel x86 (including 8086), AMD64/x86-64, PowerPC, PowerPC64, SPARC, ARM, AArch64, MIPS and the JVM. Supported operating systems include Linux, FreeBSD, Haiku, Mac OS X/iOS/iPhoneSimulator/Darwin, DOS (16 and 32 bit), Win32, Win64, WinCE, OS/2, MorphOS, Nintendo GBA, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Android, AIX and AROS.
Pro Component based (reusability, decoupled, rich design architecture)
Pro Suitably close to modern languages, without the pitfalls
It was developed as a teaching language and it shows. No syntax pitfalls and gently encourages good style.
Pro Reliable language and code base
Most code from the Turbo Pascal days in the 80s still compiles, yet the language has since been adapted and extended with modern concepts, introducing OOP and interfaces, exception handling, native Unicode support, anonymous methods, generics, ARC and more.
Pro Dynamic evolution of language.
Pro Huge language supports most everything
C++ is a large language with an even larger community and following. It has libraries for every kind of task that is possible to do with C++
Pro Powerful memory management
Allows puting large arrays on the "heap" to avoid "stack overflow".
Pro Teaches fundamental OOP
Teaches you to leverage object oriented programming.
Pro Excellent compiler optimization
Both open source compilers (such as Clang and GCC), and proprietary ones (like Intel's and Microsoft's) are very good at analyzing program flow and program optimization. This is mostly due to the widespread usage of C/C++ applications running everything from mobile/desktop/server Operating Systems, to search engines and webserver software, and the demand for performance.
Pro Teaches problem solving
The great STL is the most powerful Data Structure and Algorithms Library. It would benefit you very much in problem solving, your main main way to love programming. The code is much compact compared to Java and C#. No unnecessary classes are in your way; yet when you need classes they are available unlike C. The code runs very fast.
Pro Teaches low-level programming, but doesn't have as many pitfalls as C
Teaches data types, low-level program flow and the so common C-style syntax while not being as much of a pain as C itself.
Pro STD is often updated
The functionalities keep growing throughout the years. C++11 gave us a soft type of garbage collecting with the smart pointers.
Pro C code can be used in C++ code
Most C code will work as C++.
Pro Faster execution of the same algorithms
Because C++ (and its precursor C) are "lower level" than a lot of popular programming languages they are also faster at executing code than Java or C# which require VMs and garbage collection threads.
Pro Universal, portable, best complexity/efficiency trade-off
Pro Best way to understand algorithms
Pro Has lots of library
C++ is mature and everything has standardized library.
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 up-to-date version of language standards
In 1983, and update in 1990, the language was standardized with two standards: ISO/IEC 7185:1990 Pascal and ISO/IEC 10206:1990 Extended Pascal. However, Object Pascal extensions to the language have no official standards but in 1993, a draft proposal for object oriented Pascal standard was re; for review purposes only. There are no standards for modern features and enhancements, thus various Pascal dialects like Delphi or HP Pascal has their own enhancements and features.
Con Unnecessary heavy syntax
Begin.. end. Pascal would have been great with curly braces.. but then again, that's what C is for. It's an academic language which was used in the past, but not much anymore today.
Con All variables, types, constants and functions must be declared at the beginning of the code
Con Huge language gets in the way of learning
C++ is such an atrociously over-complicated language that its learning curve may get in the way of learning fundamentals. Learning C++ well is a ten-year project, and even experts are frequently surprised by the language.
Con Tough to learn as the first language
Many of the concepts are hard to grasp if you have no prior programming experience.
Con Undefined behavior
Subtle errors can render the entire program "undefined" by the complicated C++ standard. The standard imposes no requirements in such cases. Thus C++ compiler writers are free to ignore the existence of such cases and Bad Things are prone to happen instead. Even experts can't reliably avoid undefined cases in C++, so how can beginners be expected to do so?
Con Module system is not great
C++ uses the
#include mechanism provided by C. Which unfortunately is a poor way of accessing the API of a library. Some of the reasons why the module system is weak are:
Compile time scalability: The compiler must preprocess every header included in a file, and every header included in those headers. This process must be repeated for every translation unit in the program. As can be imagined, this doesn't scale very well. For each header added you are increasing the compilation time exponentially.
Fragile: modules included are treated as textual imports by the compiler. This causes all sorts of problems since they are subject to any macro definitions in the time of the inclusion. If any of these macro definitions collide with a name in the library it can break the library API .
Con No two programmers can agree on which 10% subset of C++ to use
C++ is such a huge and complicated language, that programmers have to learn a disciplined subset of it to reliably get anything done. The problem is, no-one can agree on which subset to use and they can't understand each other.
Con C++ succombs under its own weight
The years of cramped backward compatibility start to show in the syntax, complexity and very top-heavy language structures. Trying to keep up with far more elegant languages like C# doesn't do C++ any good either, because the committee always seems to be able to mess it up. After numerous years, still no modules... you must be kidding!
Con Retains nearly all bad habits of C
Con No reflection
C++ objects are frustratingly opaque. This makes debugging especially difficult, something beginners have to do a lot.
Con Memory leaks and segmentation faults
Because C and C++ allow the user direct access to memory and don't provide garbage collection threads, there is a probability that a program may have a "memory leak", which occurs when something a programmer allocated in the heap is not deallocated properly. Also, attempting to dereference memory protected by the operating system causes a segmentation fault and kills the program.
Con Arcane binding rules
Con Incomprehensible operator overloading resoution
Con After all these years of trying, still no decent string library.
Although you have several ways to handle strings, all of them are messy and error-prone, giving birth to many crashes and memory corruptions in the field. It's one of the worst languages ever, if you have to do strings.
Con Duplicates C features in incompatible ways
Arrays, strings, pointers, etc. have both C and C++ versions. Sometimes the C++ versions are worse. This is more useless trivia beginners have to sort through.
Con Bugs easily corrupt the memory you need to find them
You can usually get a core dump, but often the call stack gets completely overwritten. Compilers are not even consistent in how they map the binary objects to code.
Con Painfully slow compilation
Beginners need fast feedback
Con No way to locate definitions
No modules, just files, and no way to tell where anything came from.
Con Complicated types
Con Undefined behaviors and weak limited type safety
Undefined behavior in a program can cause unexpected results, making it hard to debug. With UB, program behavior may vary wildly depending on optimization settings. There are many cases that invoke UB, such as signed overflow, invalid dereferences, large integer shifts, uninitialized variables, etc. C++ allows for non-type safe operations such as logic errors, wild pointers, buffer overflow, etc. UB and type safety issues create a large number of bugs and security vulnerabilities.