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The Forth Programming Language

Free resources updated everyday:

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Forth was created in 1970 by Charles H. Moore. He wanted to create a language that would allow more direct user and machine interaction. Therefore he created Forth. He designed the language on an IBM 1130, which he considered a third generation machine. But he considered his language a fourth generation language. Because of this he decided to name the language "Fourth," but unfortunately the IBM 1130 only allowed five character file names so it got shortened to "Forth."

Significant Language Features

Forth created an interface between humans and machines. Many larger machines had several languages to communicate between user and machine, such as an application, a complier, a supervisor, and an assembler. The program would be converted through these languages so it could communicate with the machine. But this took time to do, so Forth is more of a direct link between the user and the machine.

  • Not an interpreted language, it is compiled. This increases speed.
  • Very easy to learn, program, and debug like BASIC.
  • Not as complex as Assembly, yet just as fast and powerful.
  • Compiles into a series of subroutine calls.
  • Saves processing time by having user put mathematical equations into postfix notation, so it doesn't have to transform it.
  • Makes user handle stack management. This allows less processing, and helps user become more knowledgeable about the internals of a machine.
  • Stack-based. Everything is done using stacks.

Areas of Application

Forth was originally designed to automate astronomy telescopes. It is also used to control appliances.

Sample Programs

Source Code: (Hello World)
: HELLO ."Hello World " ;

I used the free Forth compiler called F-PC(link previous page). Follow the help file instructions in the help directory to make this work. Basically create a file with a .seq ending, for example hi.seq. Type the code above into the text file and save it. Then load it, however the compiler you are using loads forth files and then type "HELLO" (case sensitive).

This code demonstrates the simplicity of outputing a line of code, in this case "Hello World."

 

 
 



 

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