|★ APPLICATIONS ★ PROGRAMMATION ★ HISOFT PASCAL 464 (PASCAL 4D/4T) ★|
|HISOFT PASCAL 464 (PASCAL 4D/4T) (Popular Computing Weekly)||PASCAL 4D/T (c) HISOFT (Amstrad Computer User)||HISOFT PASCAL 464 (PASCAL 4D/4T) (Home Computing Weekly)|
Let's start off by saying that I think this is an excellent program and worth every penny of its superficially hefty price, but some people will have difficulty finding a use for it.
Machine code has the advantage of flexibility and speed, but it is an absolute nightmare to reproduce complex statements such as r= COS y/((SQRT m) (LN z/ y)) or the extensive string handling of adventure programs which can be succinctly expressed using Basic. An ideal compromise for many would be fast compiled languages - Pascal, for example - on home micros. A Ram based system only goes halfway towards solving the problems since it has to be loaded in before you can run
However, there is one area where this Pascal has an obvious and very important use. Many people justify their purchase of a home computer as an aid to getting a job or helping them with it. But in practice a knowledge of, say, Sinclair. Basic is in little demand. Pascal on the other hand is a widely used professional language and has all the advantages of being designed to encourage structured programming (it was the source of the Procedure command used in BBC Basic) as well as being more rigidly standardised.
Hisoft's version also gives you a useful insight into the way mini - and mainframes often work with separate editors and a great distinction between the operating system and the language - something that comes as a bit of a shock to home micro owners where the whole thing is fudged into the Rom.
The fact is it is very different to the sort of programming you will be used to and may seem like wallowing through mud for the first few days, which is why I regretted the absence of the Tutorial Guide To Hisoft Pascal in the review copy. The Amstrad manual we were sent. SOFT 155, is designed to document the features available and is impressively comprehensive in its scope but a little advanced for a newcomer to the language.
The version is an 'almost full' implementation with the major limitation being that, being tape based, files cannot be handled in the normal way and are replaced by Tape in and Tape out commands. This is easy to adapt to for those learning the language but could make converting programs from other machines a nuisance. To compensate there are many predefined procedures to enable access to the advanced features of the computer.
Once loaded there is 20K available in which to program which is quite healthy for most things but can limit data handling programs. The tape also carries the marvellous bonus of turtle graphics which can be used within your Pascal programs.
An extremely impressive package.
Tony Kendle , Popular Computing Weekly