Thursday 26 September 2013

Nostalgia. Is it just a thing of the past?

I was put onto this treasure trove of old scanned manuals the other day: It contains a huge directory hierarchy of PDF scans of old product manuals from all sorts of vendors. And that’s scans of the whole manuals, not just the front covers.

Want to brush up on your Turbo Pascal 7 language? Or review the details of the Turbo Pascal Graphix Toolbox (all the Turbo Pascal manuals are here, while Turbo C manuals are here and Borland C++ manuals are here)? Or recollect the specific of Sidekick Plus (Sidekick manuals are here)? Or be reminded how Turbo Prolog worked (Turbo Prolog manuals are here)?

Turbo Pascal Reference Manual

All this and more are there as PDFs. And not just old Borland manuals. Oh no, browse up the directory tree and you can find oodles of stuff on say, the Apple Lisa (Apple’s manuals start here and the Lisa manuals are here).

What a great resource for those who like to look back from time to time :o)

ObjectVision Reerence Manual

Take a browse through and see how many product manuals you’ve forgotten all about.

Turbo C User's Guide

Ahhh, product manuals. Those were the days!

Oh, and while on the subject of manuals, back in the day the Borland documentation team did like to have a bit of fun in their work. The Delphi 1 manuals contained a couple of Easter Eggs.


  1. LOL (: I have a whole list of entries on my blog. Could go on forever, but it is fun to see those old materials again.

  2. Back when someone at Borland knew how to write manuals, and anyone there cared at all.

    Apologies to the current documentation team, but please PLEASE read the manuals for TP4 and TP7 (and BPW 7.0 and Delphi 1) - that is how it is done.

  3. For those who may be interested, the TP 5.5 Object-Oriented Programming Guide is also to be found here:

    I scanned the book, did the OCR, fixed all the OCR errors (I think), and put together the PDF which I offered back to David I some years ago.

  4. Nowdays the entire Help is an easter egg.

  5. Speaking of nostalgia, bitsavers just released a whole bunch of Apple ][ era PDFs on their RSS feed:

  6. Nostalgia... :) I met pascal in CP/M with Turbo Pascal 1.5 !!!

    It had a simple menu of options (like Wordstar) with 1, 2, 3... etc... So simple. The code were tiny and really fast.

    We have ported that compiler to other CP/M machines. TP 1.5 used the alternate z80 registers for floating point. We changed that behavior in order to support networking. CP/M used interrupts and used z80 alternate registers as a way to swap and attend the interrupt...

    Object Vision was my base for development for many years... a lot of people never knew about that. It was amazingly powerfull.

    I am still have applications that run based on concepts I got from Object Vision... long time ago...

    Long road to XE5, lets where we go more...

  7. that is true. A lot of people maybe not understand that, however I have worked with CPM computer with COBOL or TP 1.5 and we made exacly the same thing we have today. Actually, the software at that time had more options, from business standpoint. Today we have all these graphic stuff but takes forever to catch up with the same funcionalites we had at that era...