Variables and Data Types

Variables are similar to constants, but their values can be changed as the program runs. Variables must first be declared in Pascal before they can be used:

  IdentifierList1 : DataType1;
  IdentifierList2 : DataType2;
  IdentifierList3 : DataType3;

IdentifierList is a series of identifiers, separated by commas (,). All identifiers in the list are declared as being of the same data type.

The basic data types in Pascal include:

  • integer
  • real
  • char
  • Boolean
Standard Pascal does not make provision for the string data type, but most modern compilers do. Experienced Pascal programmers also use pointers for dynamic memory allocation, objects for object-oriented programming, and many others, but this gets you started.

More information on Pascal data types:

  • The integer data type can contain integers from -32768 to 32767. This is the signed range that can be stored in a 16-bit word, and is a legacy of the era when 16-bit CPUs were common. For backward compatibility purposes, a 32-bit signed integer is a longint and can hold a much greater range of values.
  • The real data type has a range from 3.4x10-38 to 3.4x1038, in addition to the same range on the negative side. Real values are stored inside the computer similarly to scientific notation, with a mantissa and exponent, with some complications. In Pascal, you can express real values in your code in either fixed-point notation or in scientific notation, with the character E separating the mantissa from the exponent. Thus,
          452.13 is the same as 4.5213e2
  • The char data type holds characters. Be sure to enclose them in single quotes, like so: 'a' 'B' '+' Standard Pascal uses 8-bit characters, not 16-bits, so Unicode, which is used to represent all the world's language sets in one UNIfied CODE system, is not supported.
  • The Boolean data type can have only two values:
    TRUE and FALSE

An example of declaring several variables is:

  age, year, grade : integer;
  circumference : real;
  LetterGrade : char;
  DidYouFail : Boolean;