Pascal 80 was a Pascal development system for the TRS-80 Model I, III, and 4. It was written by Phelps Gates, also the author of APL-80, an APL compiler for the TRS-80.
The Pascal 80 package consisted of a full-screen text editor, monitor, and compiler. Pascal source code could be compiled directly to memory or to disk. Editing and compiling Pascal source code in memory made programming Pascal similar to using interpreted languages, such as BASIC. According to the Pascal 80 manual:
Efficient and compact code allows Pascal 80 to have a monitor, editor, and compiler in the computer at the same time, yet leave enough room to create programs up to 23K bytes, with an additional 9K available while the program is running for variables and work space. This allows programs to be written, compiler, edited, and compiled again without time consuming disk access.
When written to disk, resulting programs could either be created as p-code (an intermediate compiled format) or could be merged into standalone /CMD files.
Two different companies sold versions of Pascal 80: Ramware (a division of Softside magazine) and New Classics Software. The first version of Pascal 80 was released by Ramware in early 1981. That version worked only on a TRS-80 Model I with TRSDOS. The Ramware Pascal 80 was described by the manual as “basically Standard Pascal, with some restrictions and extensions.” Those restrictions meant that “pointer Variables, Variant Records, NEW, DISPOSE, WITH, GET, and PUT are not implemented in PASCAL 80.”
On March 22, 1982, New Classics Software released an enhanced version of Pascal 80 at the West Coast Computer Faire. This version of Pascal 80 was revised extensively by George Blank, the president of New Classics Software. It had many improvements, including Model III support. The price was $99, although it was later lowered to $79.
New Classics Software released several further revisions to Pascal 80 which addressed almost all of the limitations of earlier versions (including the lack of pointers). Later advertisements described Pascal 80 as a “nearly complete subset” of standard Pascal.
Due to the strict software export controls in place in the United States at the time, Pascal 80 couldn’t be legally exported to the Soviet Union. This led to New Classics Software’s memorable advertisement that described Pascal 80 as “too powerful for the Red Army.”
Other Pascal 80 products sold by New Classics Software included:
- Pascal 80 Trial Version, a demonstration version of Pascal 80 that didn’t allow users to save files, for $15
- Pascal 80 Graphics extensions for the Radio Shack high-resolution board for $39
- Pascal 80 for CP/M for $39
- Pascal 80 School Package (either TRS-80 or CP/M) for $279. The Pascal 80 advertisements stated that “hundreds of schools, including top universities are now using Pascal 80 to teach Pascal.” The School Package, intended solely for schools, included support for the Radio Shack Network III networking hardware. According to George Blank in 1984, the School Package accounted for 40% of Pascal 80 income.
New Classics Software continued to advertise Pascal 80 until 1985.