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Starting Forth by Leo Brodie
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Starting Forth (edition 1984)

by Leo Brodie (Author)

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135188,991 (3.91)None
Member:johnboles
Title:Starting Forth
Authors:Leo Brodie (Author)
Info:Spectral Assoc (1984)
Collections:Non-Fiction, Your library
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Tags:Non-Fiction

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Starting Forth: An Introduction to the Forth Language and Operating System for Beginners and Professionals by Leo Brodie

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This book has the imprimatur of Charles Moore, the creator of the FORTH programming language. Mr. Moore wrote the Foreword, filling it with words of praise for Leo Brodie, both for his talent as a writer and as an illustrator.

I never did come up with an application that was a good fit for programming in this language. As a result, I never learned to program in FORTH. Besides, it is not an easy program for me to grasp.

Forth is a structured, imperative, functional, logical, stack-oriented, reflective computer programming language -- a fourth generation language. It does not do type checking.

Forth relies heavily on the use of a data stack and Reverse Polish Notation (RPN or postfix notation).

The Forth environment combines a compiler with an interactive shell. The programmer interactively defines and runs subroutines called "words" in a virtual machine.

In spite of its status as a fourth generation language, Forth is a simple, yet extensible, language. This extensibility allows Forth to be used in writing higher level languages. But extensibility also allows poor programmers, such as I (sniff, sniff), to write incomprehensible code, which, because of me and others like me, has given Forth a reputation as a "write-only language".

Forth has found a niche in astronomical and space applications. Forth, in the hands of capable scientists, can be used to develop complex projects that have been successfully maintained over decades of use on evolving hardware platforms.

Charles Moore, the inventor of Forth, developed the language with portability to different hardware systems in mind. This lends Forth to unique applications such as bringing up new hardware. For example, Forth was the first resident software on the new Intel 8086 chip in 1978. Forth was also the first resident development system for the first Apple Macintosh in 1984.

Classic Forth systems traditionally use neither operating systems nor file systems. Instead of storing code in files, source-code is stored in disk blocks written to physical disk addresses. This is why Forth can be used to bring up new hardware for which an operating system has not yet been written. In this respect, Forth is closer to machine language than to higher level language programming.

By contrast, modern Forth systems run under a host operating system such as Microsoft Windows, Linux or a version of Unix and use the host operating system's file system for source and data files.

Trivia: Forth is sometimes spelled in all capital letters following the customary usage during its earlier years, although the name is not an acronym.

More Trivia: Forth is so named because in 1968 "the file holding the interpreter was labeled FOURTH, for 4th (next) generation software — but the IBM 1130 operating system restricted file names to 5 characters." Hence, FOURTH became FORTH.

FIG is the Forth Interest Group. FIG is a world-wide, non-profit organization for education in and the promotion of the Forth computer language. FIG offers:

•an on-line literature database
•programming tools
•reference works
•technical conferences
•links to other Forth resources

See: http://www.forth.org/ ( )
1 vote MrJack | Oct 30, 2008 |
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Online edition available here:

http://www.forth.com/starting-forth/
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