The Forth Programming Language
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Significant Language Features |
Areas of Application |
Related Links |
Printed References |
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
- 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
- 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.
- Brodie, Leo / Forth, INC.(1987). Starting FORTH, Second Edition. Prentice-Hall
- Oakey, Steve(1984). FORTH for Micros. Butterworth & Co.
- Sebesta, Robert(1996). Concepts of Programming Languages, Third Edition. Addison Wesley Press.
The first two books above, provide a great deal of information on Forth. The
book titled Starting FORTH is a very easy to understand and
straight forward. Also some free compilers may contain text files that talk
about Forth and it's history. There is also another hello world demo at
Hello World Page!
Last modified: 11/13/99
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