I am no programmer, but I have dabbled a little bit.
Back when I was in University, Pascal was the language of choice. Turbo Pascal was the dominant platform on PCs.
Has Pascal now been completely supplanted by C/C++ (or Java, depending on the context/application)?
UCSD Pascal eventually was replaced by Turbo Pascal as the industry standard (and yes, it was used commercially by many shops). Then TurboPascal gave way to Object Pascal (a feature within Turbo Pascal), which eventually was turned into Delphi, which is the component-based programming environment of Borland's Object Pascal for Windows. Delphi was never as popular as Visual Basic during its hey-day, but it was much more powerful. For a long time, it was the second most popular "business software" programming language, a distant second behind Visual Basic. By "business software" I mean the home-grown crap built in-house by most small-to-medium businesses like banks, doctors' and lawyers' offices, and services companies. These were custom-built applications for accounting, payroll, HR management, etc. The boring side of the software industry.
In early-to-mid 1990s, getting a "programmer analyst" job out of college (there were no "software engineering" jobs! ) in many cities meant finding either a VB shop or a Delphi shop, and getting stuck there. The former were much more common, but the latter paid better. The main difference was the experience -- any two-bit hack could "program" in VB -- and that reflected on the business' software -- while Delphi typically required a bit more training and understanding of data structures and proper algorithms.
Of course, C and C++ were The Real Deal, but hiring a C programmer meant paying the big bucks. It was only for hard-core stuff like the software that actually ran your company and performed transactions (displacing the older COBOL and Fortran stuff). But even those places had some VB kiddie hacking away at the less exciting stuff, like the mail-merge program to compile customer lists, or the tech-support call log, etc.
Yet, VB was the language of choice -- it was cheap, it was easy, it was Microsoft's (which was a big thing back then, believe it or not, the "Google" of its time), and there were plenty of "VB programmers" out in the field whom you could hire for low wages.
Eventually a series of bad management decisions destroyed Borland, then Inprise (wtf?), then Borland again, then ... I forgot, who they sold it to now? All of this affected Delphi's quality and appeal in the industry, while Microsoft kept getting bigger and bigger.
In the end, Java took over as the main programming language taught in college in the late 90s and early 2000s, so businesses started hiring Java programmers for business applications, displacing some of the VB work (it was still the cheapest thing around, and it was still Microsoft's), and most of Delphi's. As far as I remember, by 2007 it was hard to find Delphi programming shops, and when you did, they were transitioning out of it and into .NET (which meant VB.NET and C#). The Delphi software was mere "legacy" stuff, which was hilarious because 10 years earlier we were using it to replace the COBOL crap.
The same industry dynamics from the VB vs. Delphi days applied then to the VB.NET vs. C# age: the former was cheaper and lower-quality work, while the latter paid better and required more discipline. The main difference this time around was that both were owned by Microsoft. The other difference was that Java was taking a bigger piece of the pie, displacing Microsoft in most places.
Delphi now lives in C# -- designed by the same guy, and you can tell. It's just like if you took the best things from Java and C++ and replaced the crappy parts with the cool ones from Delphi. If you squint your eyes so, and you peek under the hood of C#, you can see traces of some of the principles first implemented in Turbo Pascal.
Edited by DZ-Jay, Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:35 AM.