Marco Cantý
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Essential Pascal Cover

The cover of the 4th edition of Essential Pascal, the first available in print

Marco Cantù's
Essential Pascal

Essential Pascal in Print (on

ISBN: 1440480117.

My online book Essential Pascal is available in its 4th edition, the first also on paper.

The book has 140 pages and is focused on the core Pascal language (and not its OOP extensions) as found in Delphi, with some references to differences or similarities in Delphi for .Net, in Chrome, and in Free Pascal. From the page "Essential Pascal is an introduction to the basic features of the Pascal language, as found in Delphi and other modern development tools, from the best selling author of Mastering Delphi."

Compared to past online edition I've reworked all of the examples to be console-based, so they can be focused on core features and be (potentially) cross-platform. The book has had extensive editing and dozen of relevant corrections and improvements. I've kept the price very low on purpose, as the book is already used in Universities around the world, and some of its users might want to buy the printed edition.

Although the book is focused on new users of the Pascal language, it is not only an introductory book. By covering dynamic arrays, pointers, functions overloading, open array parameters, and variants (to name a few rather advanced topics) the book delves into many areas that not all Delphi developers are fluent with. A twin book introducing OOP and VCL foundations (Essential Delphi) might be turned into a printed volume depending on the success of Essential Pascal.


Essential Pascal is now available also on This is managed by a print-on-demand system, CreateSpace, from which you can also buy directly at

The PDF version of the book can be bought on FastSpring at the URL, at a price of 8.50 US Dollars.

The book was available also on (the first print-on-demand system I've used), but I'm now retiring it from that site.

Source Code

The source code of the latest edition is available on: It is a mere 40 KB.

What is Essential Pascal?

"Essential Pascal" is a free online introduction to the Pascal programming language. This book has been written by Marco Cantù and covers the language form the perspective of Borland's Delphi development environment. You can find more information about this book in its introduction. The book is free, but writing takes a lot of time. I'm very happy to see my efforts payed back by 5 Euros out of your pockets, it's a way to puch me to keep the book up to date over time.

What's New and Coming Along

August 2004: I've placed the PDF file within a ZIP to reduce occasional and repeated downloads. Please save the file to your disk, otherwise all of my bandwith is wasted for a couple of PDF files... Hope this is not a hassle.

March 14, 2003: Versions 2.01 of Essential Pascal is available for download as a single PDF file!. Follow link below.

March 14, 2003: As I'm devoting quite some time to this and other ebooks, I decided to ask for a payment from the readers who can afford it. So it is not compulsory, but you should feel obliged to donate if you are a computer professional living in a wealthy country and earning money out of the use of the information in the book (last sentence was added to make you feel a little guilty). Follow the payments link for more information.

March 28, 2002: An Indonesian translation has been started. An udapte of the Japanese version is under way.

January 3, 2002:
I've added the Chinese version.

December 28, 2000:
I've updated the structure of the Essential Pascal web site, adding this front page.

December 28, 2000:
You can now download a single zip file with the entire book, for various languages. See instructions below.

Getting Essential Pascal (version 2)

The English edition of Essential Pascal version 2 (release 2.01) is available for downlaod from this site: as a PDf within a Zip file, (470 KB). For older editions or other languages see below.

Getting Essential Pascal (version 1)

There are different ways of getting the latest version of Essential Pascal. You can:

  • See the version available on Delphi 5 Companion CD (which is still quite up-to-date)
  • Browse the book online, here (see below for the online version in other languages)
  • Download the file (241 KB) with the complete text and figures (see below for the download version in other languages)

In any case, remember also to download the zip file with the complete source code of the examples discussed in the book.

Other Languages

Thanks to many people who volunteered their time for this task, the book has been translated into many languages. Here are the currently available versions (or works-in-progress) and contact information for translators. Check the translations page if you are willing to help.

Language Person in charge Host Web Site Download
Dutch Matthijs Willemstein N/A N/A
Chinese Dai QinFen Essential Pascal
(Hosted on
French Iannis Papageorgiadis L'essentiel sur Pascal
(Hosted on
German Immo Wache (Web site)
and Rafael Barranco-Droege
Einsteigerkurs Pascal für Delphi
(Hosted on
Italian Paolo Rossi Essential Pascal, Edizione Italiana
(Hosted on
Japanese M. Miyamoto Essential Pascal, Japanese edition
(Hosted on A revised version is starting to appear on
Portuguese Odilon Nelson Pascal Essencial
(Hosted on
Spanish Rafael Barranco-Droege Pascal Esencial para Delphi
(Hosted on
Turkish Mustafa Kasap Temel Pascal
(Hosted on
(Notice: The site was recently moved)
Arabic Khaled Shagrouni Essential Pascal, Arabic Edition
(Hosted on
Indonesian Hianoto Santoso

Work In Progress..

Greek Zafiris Keramidas ... ...
Swedish Peter Thornqvist ... ...
Korean Kwon ... ...

More References

For an introduction to the use of the Delphi development environment, see Essential Delphi, also by Marco. This book is still a work in progress (with a long way to go to be finished).

For an in-depth coverage of the Object-Oriented elements of Object Pascal and a complete and in-depth coverage of the development of Delphi applications (including the features of the latest version of Delphi), see my the most recent edition of the printed book Mastering Delphi.