Turbo C

Turbo C

Due to technical limitations, "Turbo C#" redirects here. For the article on the Turbo C# IDE, see Turbo C Sharp

Turbo C was a Borland Integrated Development Environment and compiler for the C programming language. It was first introduced in 1987 and was noted for its integrated development environment, small size, extremely fast compile speed, comprehensive manuals and low price.

In May 1990, Borland replaced the Turbo C with Turbo C++. In 2006, Borland reintroduced the Turbo moniker.

Version history

  • Version 1.0, on May 13, 1987 - It offered the first integrated edit-compile-run development environment for C on IBM PCs. The software was, like many Borland products of the time, bought from another company and branded with the "Turbo" name, in this case Wizard C by Bob Jervis (The flagship Borland product at that time, Turbo Pascal, which at this time did not have pull-down menus, would be given a facelift with version 4 released late in 1987 to make it look more like Turbo C.) It ran in 384KB of memory. It allowed inline assembly with full access to C symbolic names and structures, supported all memory models, and offered optimizations for speed, size, constant folding, and jump elimination.
  • Version 1.5, in January, 1988 - This was an incremental improvement over version 1.0. It included more sample programs, improved manuals and other bug fixes. It was shipped on five 360 KB diskettes of uncompressed files, and came with sample C programs, including a stripped down spreadsheet called mcalc. This version introduced the header file (which provided fast, PC-specific console I/O routines). (Note: The copyright date in the startup screen is 1987, but the files in the distribution were created in January 1988.)
  • Version 2.0, in 1989 - The American release was in late 1988, and featured the first "blue screen" version, which would be typical of all future Borland releases for MS-DOS. The American release did not have Turbo Assembler or a separate debugger. (These were being sold separately as the product Turbo Assembler.) See this ad for details: Turbo C, Asm, and Debugger were sold together as a professional suite of tools. This seems to describe another release: Featured Turbo Debugger, Turbo Assembler, and an extensive graphics library. This version of Turbo C was also released for the Atari ST, but distributed in Germany only.

Note on later releases: The name "Turbo C" was used after version 2.0, because with the release of Turbo C++ 1.0 with 1990, the two products were folded into a single product. That first C++ compiler was developed under contract by a company in San Diego and was one of the first true compilers for C++ (until then, most C++ work was done with pre-compilers that generated C code). The next version was named Borland C++ to emphasize its flagship status and completely rewritten in-house, with Peter Kukol as the lead engineer. The Turbo C++ name was briefly dropped, eventually reappearing as Turbo C++ 3.0. There was never a 2.0 of the Turbo C++ product series.


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