What’s in a Language Name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

  • From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1594

So what do you call the language we use in the Delphi native IDE?

What is the language used in Delphi native?

  • Object Pascal (48%, 264 Votes)
  • Delphi (45%, 248 Votes)
  • Pascal (8%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 555

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So far the voting is neck in neck between Delphi and Object Pascal.

In my opinion the history is Pascal evolved into Object Pascal, which evolved into Delphi.  It seems to me that Delphi is to Pascal in the same way that C++ is to C.  They both add objects and other language extensions as well as a standard library. Sure Object Pascal extends the Pascal language, but Delphi adds even more langauge extensions and also the standard libraries of the RTL and the VCL.

I know every C/C++ programmer I have known is very strict about referring to the language by the appropriate name, be it C or C++.  Are we being more specific by referring to it as Delphi, Object Pascal or Pascal?

I used to always called it Object Pascal, but I think Delphi is the way to go now.  How about you?  Let me know why in the comments.

That which we call Delphi, by any other name would be as productive!

17 replies on “What’s in a Language Name?”

I might be wrong, but wouldn’t the RTL and VCL be considered more framework than language? With that in mind, isn’t Delphi a Framework for Object Pascal? Having said that, they don’t exactly exist (very well) without each other and I simply call it Delphi myself.

Well, as an alternate option, you could choose to use Pascal++ but then the C++ guys probably start complaining about the misuse of their ++ trademark. 😉
As far as I know, and my Pascal knowledge goes far back to 1984, the language itself was always just Pascal, then Object Pascal since Delphi 1. The IDE is the Delphi environment but since it’s very similar to the Visual Studio IDE, I doubt that we can still call it Delphi. Then again, the VCL components are Delphi components, not Object Pascal components. So when you use the VCL, you’re using Delphi. Use something different and you’re back to Object Pascal.

@Murph: I would agree that the RTL/VCL is more of a framework than an language. If you look at what makes C++ different than C: objects, other language extensions, and a Standardized Library (core language, C++ Standard Library, and the STL.) So if the standardized library is part of C++ then the RTL / VCL could be part of Delphi.

@Wim: I think it was Delphi 6 when Borland officially announced that the language was no longer Object Pascal, but instead was the Delphi Programming Language. Is that when the change happened? After the Borland separation I think it was David I. that first referred to it as the Object Pascal language and the Delphi language both interchangeably again. Although there is no official change back as far as I know.

Citation (in the first line of Embarcadero’s white paper “Using New Delphi Coding Styles…”, December 2008):
“The Delphi language, better known as Object Pascal…”

My very private opinion/interpretation:
– Object Pascal is the programming language of Delphi.
– semantically (afaics), “Delphi Programming Language” reads “Language to program in Delphi”.
– “Delphi Programming Language” is a figurative label – as such, it’s fine for the purpose of a daily grind simplification

Similar: one can be a C# programmer – not a DotNet programmer.

Delphi is a dialect of Object Pascal as American English is of English.
Free Pascal and ‘Prism Pascal’ are also dialects of Object Pascal.

I tend to use the terms interchangeably these days.
I used to be quite happy with “Object Pascal” as the language and “Delphi” as the development environment (IDE, VCL etc) until Borland announced that the language was now “The Delphi Language”. Just as I had got used to that, Codegear released “Delphi for PHP” (or was it PHP for Delphi?). Reminds me of the fiasco when Microsoft kept changing the meanings of “ActiveX” and “OLE” ultimately declaring the “OLE” no longer stood for “Object Linking and Embedding”!

Delphi is the IDE + Framework(VCL, RTL, etc). The pillar over which it’s built is the Object Pascal language.

If course, IMHO.

@Mike: Codegear extended the above concept changing the pillar from OP to PHP……. Never used it, don’t know how good(or bad?) this IDE for PHP is….

The way I remember it, when Delphi 1 came out, the push was to call the language Delphi because Pascal had such a huge stigma attached to it, but it was still called Object Pascal in the documentation. Then when CodeGear came out with Delphi for PHP, the semi-official statement was made that Delphi was the environment and the language was Object Pascal. So it’s never been clear, and the constant renaming hints at being ashamed of one or the other.

I agree with the statements made here that Object Pascal is the overall language and Delphi refers to a dialect. But looking at web sites and blogs and the general usage over the last several years, the term “Object Pascal” is infrequently seen, and most of us would say “I program in Delphi.”

Delphi, for me, because of people. If I said I am programming in Pascal, people will not know what to think, Modula 2 is also one of implementation of Pascal, if I said Delphi, I am more precise, and people will understand me…

I would say that half of “Object pascal language” voters were simply unaware that Borland deprecated this form around Delphi 6~7 in favor of “Delphi language”. I stick with “Delphi”. More simple and explicit.

The Turbo Pascal 5 product was for the Pascal language. The Turbo Pascal 5.5 product was for the Object Pascal language. Then came Turbo Pascal 6 and 7. What would have been Turbo Pascal 8 was called Delphi 1. It is incorrect to say the compiler became object-oriented at Delphi 1/Turbo Pascal 8 when it actually happened 3 versions earlier.

True, TP5 was just Pascal while TP5.5 and higher introduced the use of objects. However, classes were introduced with Delphi 1 and not before thus I prefer to call TP5.5, TP6, TP7, BP7, TPW1 and TPW1.5 as just Pascal with Objects, while Delphi 1 introduced the real Object Pascal.
And it’s true that Borland deprecated the name “Object Pascal” since D6 but by introducing “Delphi for PHP”, they just continued the name confusion. If they hadn’t created the PHP version, I’d just call the language Delphi too. Although, we do also have to consider the current Open-Source Pascal compilers. These are based upon Delphi but won’t be able to call the language Delphi. (Trademark issues.) Because those open-source compilers, I’m even more compelled to refer to the language as just “Object Pascal”. (But Pascal++ sounds good too.)

Delphi IS Object Pascal. It’s a version of Object Pascal.
Calling Delphi just “Object Pascal” is sort of like calling Viper just “Dodge”. Not fundamentally wrong, but NOT ACCURATE.

Delphi is an IDE, a library and a compiler of Object Pascal. There are Pascal and Object Pascal compilers other than Delphi.
But there are no Delphi compilers other than Borland/Inprise/Borland/CodeGear/Abracadabra or whatever they are called now.
In fact, they would sue you if you start selling your own Pascal compiler and you named it Delphi.

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