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Dabbling with Lazarus

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I was dabbling with FreePascal and Lazarus, mainly for the nostalgia of looking at Pascal again. One advantage this holds for a beginner is that it is a one-step download and install. It also includes Object Pascal (or a version of this) and an entire GUI framework.

Sample code:

(I basically went through this tutorial.)

I like the separation of consts, vars, types, etc.. Knowing where to align begin..end is a bit fiddly, and the Lazarus editor isn't brilliant in this regard. Knowing when to include or omit semi-colons seems a little inconsistent, but this would be overcome with practice. (I won't be pursuing it much further myself though.)

I think it could be a good language for a beginner, learning all the fundamentals of programming. I mean for school-age, not university-age. At university the languages of choice are normally Java, C++, perhaps C#.

I know that others will disagree, mainly because it doesn't lead anywhere. (This isn't quite true, it leads to Delphi/Object Pascal, which is still number 18 in the TIOBE index.)

What else could a beginner, a child, start with? Ideally this would be C but there is a good chance of this causing trauma, and potential programmers never pursuing the subject again!

Microsoft Small Basic looks good to me, and it leads to VB.NET and/or C#. Either this or Python. Python is a great, modern, and very accessible language, and there is no reason to change to a different language - plenty of work out there for Pythonistas!

Anyway, this is just an opinionated blog-entry - I'm not trying to make a definitive choice for people. Feel free to add a comment if you disagree though ;). Andy.

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17 August 2014 - 06:44 AM
When I first got into programming, I found that C# was the best language for me to start with. I also think Java is an excellent starter language.
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