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Turbo Pascal Internals

Updated on April 27, 2011

Turbo Pascal History

Borland Turbo Pascal compiler is definitely one of the most successful Pascal implementations. It emerged in early 1980s on CP/M and PC platform and was a leading Pascal compiler until mid 1990s when its successor Delphi came as a RAD tool for Windows. Turbo Pascal had many advantages: it was a very fast compiler, had integrated development environment, generated quality executable code and used extended Pascal language syntax. This Pascal syntax is still used by almost all Pascal compilers today.

Turbo Pascal Internals

Because of this successful history many programmers wondered what lies beneath this compiler. Turbo Pascal compiler was originally developed by Anders Hejlsberg. This compiler was later sold to Borland where it was a huge commercial success. There are no publicly disclosed details about Turbo Pascal internals. With exception of the Turbo Pascal unit structure not much is known. There is one exception to this, the TPC16 compiler.

Turbo Pascal compiler written in Turbo Pascal

TPC16 is a Turbo Pascal compatible command line compiler written in Turbo Pascal. It uses the same syntax as Turbo Pascal 7.0 compiler, compiles the same source files and generates the same unit and executable files as Turbo Pascal 7.0. TPC16 compiler executable file can be downloaded for free, however, for anybody interested in Turbo Pascal internals the source code of TPC16 is also available.

TPC16 is a Turbo Pascal compiler written in Turbo Pascal. TPC16 source code shows all the internal data structures and algorithms used by the Turbo Pascal compiler. Of course, the original Turbo Pascal was probably not written in Pascal. But to understand Turbo Pascal internals this is not important since Pascal programming language is easy to read and TPC16 source code clearly reveals all the secrets of Turbo Pascal Compiler.

Practical Compiler Design

TPC16 source code can be used to understand Turbo Pascal internals, to learn about compiler design, to start with practical compiler construction or to design a totally new compiler. With this source code you get all the building blocks needed to design a successful compiler. From scanner, symbol table design, hash tables for fast search, parser, intermediate code representation, code generator, optimizing linker, etc. This is the best book on compiler design - source code of a working and successful compiler. If you are interested in compiler design, Turbo Pascal internals or just need a working compiler to start with, then TPC16 Pascal source code is an excellent resource.

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