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Issue 065: Pascal

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Issue 065: Pascal

Welcome to the sixty-fifth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, about the Pascal programming language. In this edition, we react to the sudden news of Niklaus Wirth's passing with memories of the past and perspectives of the present; in the Library section, we review "Classics in Software Engineering" by Edward Nash Yourdon; and in our Vidéothèque section, we watch some recent interviews of Niklaus Wirth himself.

"Lazarus, Come Forth!"

The year 2024 started with the sudden and sad news of the passing away of Niklaus Wirth, Turing Award winner and creator of many influential programming languages. It was hard for this author not to dive back into memories of Pascal, probably Wirth's more successful and famous creation, for the main article of this month. This will not be an obituary; after all, The Register published one that, I believe, is the perfect one. Instead, we will focus on the myriad breadcrumbs of evidence showcasing the towering legacy of Mr. Wirth.

Niklaus Wirth

It is challenging to summarize the influence of Niklaus Wirth in the daily lives of otherwise unsuspecting programmers worldwide. The more one digs into videos, papers, books, and obituaries, the more information surfaces and fights for a place in the spotlight. There are, however, at least two major guidelines that drove his passion for software. One was simplicity through clear understanding and lack of ambiguity; the other, closely related to the first, was teaching.

Edward Nash Yourdon

Here is a confession. The first drafts of this issue of De Programmatica Ipsum were written under the name "Structured Programming". Understandably enough, the news of Niklaus Wirth's passing triggered a prompt renaming and the choice of a somewhat narrower focus. However, Pascal's rise in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s cannot be explained unless we elaborate on Structured Programming, and this month's Library book is among the most important ones ever written about the subject.

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