The Forth Programming Language

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History | Significant Language Features | Areas of Application | Sample Programs
Related Links | Printed References | Acknowledgments


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.

Areas of Application

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

Sample Programs

Related Links

Printed References

  1. Brodie, Leo / Forth, INC.(1987). Starting FORTH, Second Edition. Prentice-Hall
  2. Oakey, Steve(1984). FORTH for Micros. Butterworth & Co.
  3. 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!
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Last modified: 11/13/99
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