When comparing Pascal / Object Pascal vs Racket, the Slant community recommends Racket for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Racket is ranked 3rd while Pascal / Object Pascal is ranked 12th. The most important reason people chose Racket is:
Includes several free online books and great documentation.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 Clear syntax
Pascal / Object pascal was used in schools during the 2000's to teach kids the basics of object oriented programming.
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 Cross platform
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.
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 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 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 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 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 Automatic Memory Management
The new Delphi compilers are powered by Automatic Reference Counting to ease development.
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 Fast execution
The compiler generates fast and optimized code. No stop-the-universe garbage collection.
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 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 Free Resources to Learn
Includes several free online books and great documentation.
Pro Racket was designed to teach functional programming from the start
Racket is based on Scheme (LISP Family) and is very similar to Clojure. So there are a ton of (). The reason it is easier to learn is that it is not trying to be "Pure" if there is even such a thing in terms of Functional Programming. The great thing about Racket is it has everything included. You get DrRacket for developing programs. You want to add a picture to your software you can insert pictures. If you want to add libraries just open the package manager. The Syntax is an opinion but it really does feel easier to see what is happening since everything is in brackets)
Racket is a really a Programming Language for making Programming Languages. So there are smaller syntax Racket called Student Racket which makes things easier to pick up.
Pro Realm of Racket is an excellent entry-level guidebook
Realm of Racket teaches the big-bang approach for managing world state. It does so by walking the reader through the development of small games. There are few guidebooks that are as useful and entertaining.
Pro Easily embeddable
Racket is famously embedded in the game engine underlying Naughty Dog's Uncharted and The Last of Us games, because it proved to be so easy to embed.
Pro Great RPEL IDEA included Dr. Racket
Pro Active community
Racket has an active community of users/developers that makes it easy to get help when needed.
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 All variables, types, constants and functions must be declared at the beginning of the code
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.