TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Pascal/C II
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:1
Column Tag:Pascal/C workshop

The Pascal Programmer’s Guide
To Understanding ‘C’

Teach yourself to read another language - Part II

By Ken Gladstone, MacTech Magazine Technical Editor

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

This article is the second half of my Pascal Programmer’s Guide to Understanding “C”. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read the first half, which appeared in our December 1993 issue - otherwise you will probably be thoroughly confused by this half! That first half covered the following “C” concepts: comments, identifiers, operators, constants, program structure, and variable declarations and scope. So, let’s continue


One key difference between C and Pascal is that C always passes parameters by value, never by reference. Therefore, you may be wondering how a C function can ever modify a passed in parameter. It can’t - but you can accomplish the same thing by passing a pointer to the value you wish to modify, and having the function modify the pointed to value. Here is an example:

/* 1 */
/************************ C Version *************************/

void doubleIt( int * pointerToIntParam )
  (*pointerToIntParam) *= 2;

int main()
  int myInt = 3;

  doubleIt( & myInt );

  return myInt;

/******************** End of C Version **********************/

(********************* Pascal Version ***********************)
program myProgram;
    myInt: INTEGER;

  procedure doubleIt( var IntParam: INTEGER );
    IntParam := IntParam * 2

  myInt := 3;

  doubleIt( myInt )

(****************** End of Pascal Version *******************)


So far, I’ve been showing functions as follows:

int MyFunc( int a, char b, float c )
  /* Code goes here */

This way of writing functions is an ANSI extension that allows C to perform parameter type checking when calling a function. Things weren’t always so nice. In the original K&R C, functions were written as follows:

int MyFunc( a, b, c )
int a;
char b;
float c;
  /* Code goes here */

In original C compilers, when calling a function, there was no checking of parameter types, or often even of the number of parameters! In old C, you could write a call to a function before it had ever been defined, declared or mentioned in any way! Now, C compilers have much stronger type-checking. For example, Think C has a compiler option to require you to write a function prototype for every function.


So far, all of the examples that I’ve shown execute code sequentially - in fact, I’ve only shown declarations, assignment statements, function calls, and function return statements. Like Pascal, C has various loops and other constructs to control the flow of code. We’ll start with the while loop. The while loop in C is nearly identical to the one in Pascal, except that it needs parens around the test expression and it doesn’t have a DO keyword. Examples:

/* 2 */

while ( i < j ) i *= 2;   // First C example

while i < j DO i := i * 2;  {Pascal Equiv.}

while ( i < j )  // C example w/compound statement
  sysBeep( 1 );
  i *= 2;

while i < j DO   {Pascal Equiv.}
  sysBeep( 1 );
  i := i * 2

Next we have the C do statement. This is a loop with the test at the end of each iteration, like the Pascal REPEAT statement, but the sense of the while test at the end is the opposite of the Pascal UNTIL test. Unlike the Pascal version, the C version needs braces if the loop contains a compound statement. And again, the while condition needs parens. Example:

/* 3 */

do // C version
  sysBeep( x );
  ++ x;
while ( x != 10 );

REPEAT  {Pascal equiv.}
  sysBeep( x );
  x := x + 1
UNTIL x = 10;

Next we have the for loop.  The for loop in C is far more general than the one in Pascal. 
 It looks like this:

for ( expr1; expr2; expr3 )

What it does is this: expr1 is an initialization that is performed before executing the loop for the first time. expr2 is a test that is performed before each iteration. As long as expr2 evaluates to non-zero, the looping continues. expr3 is a statement that is performed at the end of every iteration. C does not limit loops to simple count up and count down types. Any or all of the three expressions may be omitted, but the semicolons must remain. Any C for loop can be rewritten as follows:

/* 4 */

while( expr2 )

for ( i = 10; i != 0; --i ) // C example
  DoIt( i );

for ( i = 10; i; --i )    // An equivalent variation
  DoIt( i );

i = 10; // Another equivalent variation
while ( i )
  DoIt( i );// Could use pre or post decrement
  -- i;

i = 10; // Yet another equivalent variation
while ( i )
  DoIt( i-- );   // Must use post decrement

FOR i := 10 DOWNTO 0 DO   {Pascal equivalent}
 DoIt( i );

The C if statement is very similar to the Pascal version: The else clause is optional, and the statements can be either simple or compound. The only difference is that C needs parens around the expression, it doesn’t use the THEN keyword, and as always, every statement needs a semicolon. Example:

/* 5 */

if ( condition ) // C

IF condition THEN {Pascal version}

/* 6 */


C has a case statement that is very similar to the Pascal version. An example should suffice:

/* 7 */

switch ( x )// C version
  case 1:
  case 2:
    break;  // Must explicitly leave each case
  case 3:
    AndTheOtherThreeThing();// Purposely fall through
  case 7:

CASE x OF { Pascal Version }

/* 8 */

  1, 2:  DoTheOneOrTwoThing;
      DoTheThreeAndSevenThing; { In Pascal, we need this twice }
      DoTheThreeAndSevenThing; {In Pascal, we need this twice}
  OTHERWISE DoTheDefaultThing

The previous example used the C break keyword. This keyword is like the Pascal Leave statement, and can be used to break out of the innermost while, do, for, or switch. C also has a continue keyword that like the Pascal Cycle statement. It skips to the next iteration of the innermost while, do or for loop.

Finally, C also has the dreaded goto statement (nothing seems to split programmers into warring factions as well as a goto statement does). Unlike in Pascal, you don’t declare labels in C, you just stick ‘em in the code, and they follow the same syntax as other identifiers. Example:

/* 9 */

{// C
    x := Function();
    if ( x == 10 ) goto MyLabel;

LABEL 333; { Pascal }
  333: x = Function;
  IF x=10 THEN GOTO 333


Standard C has oodles of library functions, such as malloc() and fread(), that you would use if you were programming on any computer unless you are programming on a Macintosh which you are. So for the most part, you will use calls like NewPtr() and FSRead() instead. You’ll need to look at your C compiler manual if you are interested in the standard C libraries.


Amazingly enough, standard C doesn’t really provide much built-in language support for strings. There are several standard C library functions that process strings, but no real string type or operators. C handles strings as simple arrays of the char type. In general, you would create a string in one of the following ways:

  char myString[100]; // 100 bytes of storage
  char Another[] = "LetTheCompilerCountTheSize";
  char * ptrToString;

  ptrToString = NewPtr( 100 );

C also has a different way of representing strings than the Pascal way. Instead of having a length byte followed by a number of characters, C starts immediately with characters, and the string is considered to continue until the occurrence of a zero byte. So this declaration:

char myString[] = "Foo";

creates four bytes of storage. It fills the first three with the word "Foo" and puts a zero byte in the fourth. This convention allows strings of arbitrary length.

This string representation doesn’t fit well with Pascal nor with the Mac toolbox, but don’t despair. C only uses this convention in two places: In string constants (like the "Foo" shown above) and in its library functions. The Mac solves the second problem by shunning the C library that is used by the rest of the world, in favor of its own toolbox. And the compilers on the Mac solve the first problem by introducing an ingenious extension, the \p escape sequence. Here is an example:

char pascalString[] = "\pFoo";

This causes the compiler to insert a Pascal-style length byte at the beginning of the string. It still generates a zero-byte at the end, however. So the above declaration would use five bytes: The first byte contains a 3 (for the Pascal length), the next three bytes contain the string, and the final byte contains the C-style zero byte. So pascalString can be used as a Pascal string, and (pascalString+1) or &pascalString[1] can be used as a C string.


C compilers include a preprocessor step that reads in the source file, expands macros, and then writes back a temporary file that is fed into the actual compiler. Keep in mind that preprocessor commands are purely compile-time, not run-time operations. They are similar to Pascal {$ } compiler directives. Instead of being embedded within comments, C preprocessor instructions begin with a number sign ‘#’. Here is a (somewhat contrived) code fragment that includes many of the common preprocessor instructions:

/* 10 */

#include <stdio.h>
#include "myheader.h"

#define DEBUG    // Delete this line before shipping program.
#define PI3.14159
#define square(a)( ( a ) * ( a ) )
#define cube(a)  ( ( a ) * square( a ) )
#define max(a,b) ( ( ( a ) > ( b ) ) ? ( a ) : ( b ) )

#pragma segment mySegment

double MaxSurfaceOrVolume( double radius )
 * This is a strange function which will return either the 
 * surface area or the volume of a sphere, whichever is 
 * larger, for a given radius.
#ifdef DEBUG
  printf( "Hey, we're in the MaxSurfaceOrVolume function" );
  printf( "Hey, we're running the non-debug version" );

#if 0

I could have a bunch of lines of code in here, and they

wouldn't ever be executed, or even compiled.

/* 11 */


  return max( 4 * PI * square( radius ), 
    4.0/3.0 * PI * cube( radius ) );

The following table describes the preceding preprocessor statements:

Preprocessor Statement Meaning

#include <stdio.h> Similar to the Pascal {$I filename} directive. Paste the contents of the included file into here as if they had actually been typed into this file. The angle brackets generally tell the compiler to look for the include file in its list of “system” file folders. Include files are generally named with a .h at the end. They generally consist of things like typedefs, global variable definitions, function prototypes, preprocessor macros, etc. The Mac compilers provide header files that prototype all the toolbox functions so you don’t have to.

#include "myHeader.h" Same as above, but look in the list of “user” file folders instead of system file folders.

#define DEBUG Similar to the Pascal {$SETC DEBUG = 1} directive. Define the existence of a preprocessor variable. The existence of the variable can be checked later.

#define PI 3.14159 A simple text substitution. Replace all future occurences of PI with 3.14159.

#define square(a) ((a)*(a)) A substitution that takes parameters. Keep in mind that while a macro like this may look like a function call, it is purely text substitution, and therefore incurs none of the overhead of a function call.

#pragma segment mySegment The #pragma feature allows compiler specific instructions that are not actually part of the C language. Each compiler has its own pragmas. They are used for such things as turning optimizations on and off, disabling compiler warnings, or in this case, telling the compiler in what code segment to put this code. They perform many of the same functions as the miscellaneous Pascal {* } directives.

#ifdef DEBUG Similar to {$IFC } in Pascal. The subsequent statements will only be compiled if the variable is defined.

#else Similar to {$ELSEC}. The subsequent statements will only be compiled in the “else” case of the preceding #if.

#endif Similar to {$ENDC}. Ends a preprocessor #if or #ifdef construction.

#if 0 This is a quick way to disable a chunk of code. Change it to #if 1 to re-enable.


You should now know enough C to be able to read C code listings. If you would like to get some more practice at seeing the differences between C and Pascal, you may wish to check out Dave Mark’s first few “Getting Started” articles. Dave wrote both a C and Pascal version for all of his programs in the 1992 columns. And while we didn’t print all of the listings in the magazine, we did include them in the source code disks and in our CD-ROM. Beyond that, you’ll probably have to break down a buy a couple of C books.

Million dollar (no, we won’t pay you, even if you have a good answer!) bonus question: K&R say that the term define is used when actually creating storage for a variable, and that the term declare is used when describing the characteristics of a variable (and only possibly creating storage). So why is it that type declarations, which allocate no storage, are spelled typedef (short for type definition) instead of being spelled typedecl? Perhaps this has been discussed somewhere before, but not that I’ve seen. Personally, I like the C keyword, and think that K&R have the define and declare terms backwards throughout their book!


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Posterino 3.3.5 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Skim 1.4.28 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.4 - The latest...
With Apple macOS Sierra, Siri makes its debut on Mac, with new features designed just for the desktop. Your Mac works with iCloud and your Apple devices in smart new ways, and intelligent... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.1 - Apple's spreads...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Xcode 8.3 - Integrated development envir...
Xcode includes everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing... Read more
Dropbox 22.4.24 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Merlin Project 4.2.0 - Project managemen...
Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
Postbox 5.0.12 - Powerful and flexible e...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
Apple Pages 6.1 - Apple's word proc...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
RapidWeaver 7.3.2 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more

Hearthstone celebrates the upcoming Jour...
Hearthstone gets a new expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, in a little over a week, and they'll be welcoming the Year of the Mammoth, the next season, at the same time. There's a lot to be excited about, so Blizzard is celebrating in kind. Players will... | Read more »
4 smart and stylish puzzle games like Ty...
TypeShift launched a little over a week ago, offering some puzzling new challenges for word nerds equipped with an iOS device. Created by Zach Gage, the mind behind Spelltower, TypeShift boasts, like its predecessor, a sleak design and some very... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Deals, deals, deals. We're all about a good bargain here on 148Apps, and luckily this was another fine week in App Store discounts. There's a big board game sale happening right now, and a few fine indies are still discounted through the weekend.... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
It's been quite the week, but now that all of that business is out of the way, it's time to hunker down with some of the excellent games that were released over the past few days. There's a fair few to help you relax in your down time or if you're... | Read more »
Orphan Black: The Game (Games)
Orphan Black: The Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dive into a dark and twisted puzzle-adventure that retells the pivotal events of Orphan Black. | Read more »
The Elder Scrolls: Legends is now availa...
| Read more »
Ticket to Earth beginner's guide: H...
Robot Circus launched Ticket to Earth as part of the App Store's indie games event last week. If you're not quite digging the space operatics Mass Effect: Andromeda is serving up, you'll be pleased to know that there's a surprising alternative on... | Read more »
Leap to victory in Nexx Studios new plat...
You’re always a hop, skip, and a jump away from a fiery death in Temple Jump, a new platformer-cum-endless runner from Nexx Studio. It’s out now on both iOS and Android if you’re an adventurer seeking treasure in a crumbling, pixel-laden temple. | Read more »
Failbetter Games details changes coming...
Sunless Sea, Failbetter Games' dark and gloomy sea explorer, sets sail for the iPad tomorrow. Ahead of the game's launch, Failbetter took to Twitter to discuss what will be different in the mobile version of the game. Many of the changes make... | Read more »
Splish, splash! The Pokémon GO Water Fes...
Niantic is back with a new festival for dedicated Pokémon GO collectors. The Water Festival officially kicks off today at 1 P.M. PDT and runs through March 29. Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, and their assorted evolved forms will be appearing at... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple refurbished, in s...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for $1199, sa...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Save up to $260 with Apple refurbished 12-inc...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $170 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro (MJLQ2LL/A) on sale for $1799.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $160 with Apple refurbished 9-inch...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... Read more
Apple Chip Foundry TSMC To Begin A11 System-o...
Digitimes’ Steve Shen is reporting today that according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN), chipmaker and major Apple supplier foundery Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC... Read more
MacX MediaTrans 3.5 iOS Data Transfer Spring...
MacXDVD Software has announced general availability of the latest MacX MedTrans 3.5, featuring a new user interface (UI). MacX MediaTrans is ann iPhone manager that enables free data transfer between... Read more
Regular Price $19.95 DupeZap 4 Finder For OS...
Hyperbolic Software has announced the release of DupeZap 4.0.2, their modern duplicate finder developed exclusively for macOS. DupeZap 4 is an utility for Mac owners seeking to reclaim disk space... Read more
B-Eng Releases SSD Health Check for MVNe for...
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check for MVNe for MacBook Pro, their app that delivers important data and insights for MVNe... Read more

Jobs Board

Fulltime aan de slag als shopmanager in een h...
Ben jij helemaal gek van Apple -producten en vind je het helemaal super om fulltime shopmanager te zijn in een jonge en hippe elektronicazaak? Wil jij werken in Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492889BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000886-Norwalk-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492472BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000470-Seattle-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492562BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000853-Jackson-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.