| For a lot of info on Forth go to:
Getting up on a soap box now....
FWIW, I know that Forth is still used in a number of embedded systems
by a small (and diminishing) community. I've always thought that if
you can get over the learning curve, Forth offers things that other
development systems (it's more than just a compiler) only aspire to:
great interactive debugging capabilities, quick modelling,
portability, quick hardware interfacing. And more.
There have been a couple of stabs at Forth for the PICmicros, but the
architecture is one of the few micros that is quite Forth un-friendly.
The next PICmicro architecture, the 18Cxxx, will have an addressable
hardware stack, incrementing/decrementing pointers to program memory
and file register space, linear file register space, and some other
handy features that will make it easy to implement a very efficient
Forth nucleus on-chip ('though that's not the reason the features
Unfortunately, with the waning interest in Forth, there might be no
one who's interested enough to do it.
Paul B. Webster wrote:
>I propose that the FORTH community is in fact expanding, it's just a
>rather specialist group interested in efficiency, style and real-time
>operations in a certain area. Funnily enough, a lot of it is still in
>the traditional home area of robotics, astronomy and process control.
>You no more use FORTH to program a PIC toaster than you do Java, "C++"
>or VB (;-) and PICs are really *not* made for native FORTH at all, so it
>is not surprising that it features little on this list. You can use a
>FORTH system to cross-compile though, just like PICBASIC.
You are preaching to the converted. I know that it's still a very
powerful and useful language. It just doesn't seem to be spreading. The
specialist group that is using it is becoming smaller judging from many
indicators, and I wish it weren't so. It's birthplace (Kitt Peak) no
longer uses it, I've heard. It doesn't have much visibility, and what
there is seems to be growing dimmer.
Yes, cross-compilation is possible, and I've done that even on machines
that could have hosted a native Forth, but you lose many of it's
For a number of embedded systems designers, Forth is their bread and
butter. For some, it's even a secret weapon. I can count on the fingers
of one hand the number of times I've seen it referenced this year in
Embedded Systems, though. Dr. Dobbs has gone off on another direction,
and I don't recall seeing it in Circuit Cellar. Seems like that's the
most likely vehicle for carring its message to the audience most able to
appreciate its viability.
Peter L. Peres
On Wed, 7 Oct 1998, Darrel Johansen wrote:
> butter. For some, it's even a secret weapon. I can count on the fingers
> of one hand the number of times I've seen it referenced this year in
> Embedded Systems, though. Dr. Dobbs has gone off on another direction,
imho it has omitted to announce it's change of name. It's called Java
byte-code [tm] [R] [C] now ;). Besides that, most P-code systems that have
extendable function libraries at runtime, are Forth in disguise (but don't
say I've said that). M$ VB is probably an extreme of that, but I am not
sure. Purists will attack me here, saying that things that do not have 1
operand stack and need to be developed using IPN and a programmer's
calculator, are not FORTH. I stand by my opinion ;) I also happen to use
FORTH-like coding often, as I find it to be a good way to interface to
integer math libraries in a cramped space (such as on a PIC), yielding
easy to edit/modify sources. I find that a 32 function integer calculator
function is sufficient for most PIC-ing integer arithmetics.
On Thu, 8 Oct 1998, Peter L. Peres wrote:
> On Wed, 7 Oct 1998, Darrel Johansen wrote:
> > butter. For some, it's even a secret weapon.
Hmmm... I suppose you could suffocate someone with a stick of it.
Amazing stuff, butter. I remember Marlon Brando finding an interesting
application for it in "Last Tango in Paris".
Sorry, is it Friday yet? :-)
Peter L. Peres
On Thu, 8 Oct 1998, Bob Blick wrote:
> Hmmm... I suppose you could suffocate someone with a stick of it.
Actually it could help fight code reverse engineering. FORTH code works
like an md5 hash: You write source, it works, but you can't read it after
1 year. So a disassembler won't do any hacker much good <vbg>.
> Sorry, is it Friday yet? :-)
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