Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classic book Starting FORTH now available online

By Vasudev Ram - dancingbison.com | @vasudevram | jugad2.blogspot.com

This post is for programming language fans.

FORTH is a pretty interesting language. It's one of the oldest programming languages.

It was originally invented by Charles Moore to control telescopes in the early days of computing:


(Also make sure to google for FORTH and check the Wikipedia entry, etc.)

The classic FORTH language tutorial, the book "Starting FORTH", is now available online.

Check it out here:


The book's author was Leo Brodie:


(Again, google for him.)

I was lucky enough to find a copy of the original book (in hard-cover!) many years ago, when I was fairly new to programming, and bought it on the spot :), even though it was a bit expensive for me back then.

I enjoyed reading it, and playing around with the language using a FORTH interpreter.

Now you can read the entire book online at the above URL if you're interested in going FORTH :)

Here is the introduction page, which is quite interesting too, and may spark your interest in FORTH:


Some people say that is more efficient than assembly language for certain types of programs.

Whether or not that is the case, I certainly found it a fun and unique language to program in.

YMMV, of course. Only one way to find out ... (TM). [1]

UPDATE: I checked out a FORTH implementation, GForth (that's GNU FORTH) v0.5.0 for DOS. Tried the Windows version first but the EXE gave some error, and I didn't want to bother right then with building it from the Windows source. There is also a Linux version which you can try out; you may have to build it from source using the usual configure / make / make install method (plus maybe some tweaks). You can find the GNU FORTH site via Google: http://google.com/search?q=GNU+FORTH

Anyway, the DOS version of GForth worked okay. I could enter a few FORTH expressions and they ran right.
Also defined and ran a FORTH word or two to check a bit more. That worked too. Looking forward to doing some FORTH programming in my spare time ...


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- Vasudev Ram @ Dancing Bison

[1] By trying it :)

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