Forth News Archive 1999

Issue 104 November


Hardware Kit

Jeremy Fowell reports that the FIG UK hardware project, a single board Forth computer based on the HC11 processor is now almost ready for shipping. The method of downloading code from PC to FLASH memory needs some work and the written documentation needs to be completed.

Getting Started

The Getting Started web site published by FIG UK member Dave Pochin has been updated to suit the new v4.1 of Win32Forth.
Dave reports an impressive 2400 visitors.

Paul Bennet

Paul Bennett has moved his consultancy business to a new Internet address. Paul offers advice on Development Processes, High Integrity Distributed Embedded Control Systems, Forth and Software Certification.


Dean of the Harvard University Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dr. Venky Narayanamurti seeks a competent programmer to modify code which controls a scanning tunneling microscope. Strong background in C and FORTH required.
Ian Appelbaum, Research Assistant
617 496 5471


Richard C. Wagner has been appointed the new Director and Conference Chairman of the FORML conference. FORML21 will be held on November 19-21 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. The theme this year is the use of Forth with Internet and other networks.

Papers submitted include the following:

For more information:


Game Programming

If you're interested in game programming with Forth you might be interested in the Allegro project.

Virtual Forth

Gary Shannon posted a message to the comp.lang.forth newsgroup about his desire to create a Visual Forth. Gary invites volunteers to help.


FTP Archive

FIG International now has a very useful search option for both the FTP archive and the web site.

Japanese Site

Taro Yamamoto in Tokyo reports that the URL in the last issue for a Forth site in Japan links to the Japanese language version. A more useful URL is It’s in English and includes a link to the Japanese version and also to the FIG UK web site. It’s on the Forth Web Ring

Forth in Java

Jim Lawless has published a little Forth interpreter written in Java and demonstrated how it can execute code from an HTML page.

Forth Primer

Julian Noble’s Forth Primer dates from 1992 and can be found at:

It has now been updated to suit Win32Forth. The new primer is at

Apple Open Firmware

Doug Neale suggests anyone interested in Apple's Open Firmware which is Forth based can get more information from: Follow the links - Technical Q&A’s - Hardware


Common Forth

Luke Lee reports that Common Forth V1.700 for DJGPP V2 is now released. Other versions for DJGPP-V1, Borland C++ and Watcom C++ are also updated.

Delta Forth

DELTA Forth 0.95 is now available. It was rated 5 stars at SuperShareware and Top 25% at JARS

DF 0.95 includes the Algebraic to RPN/Forth Converter, utility that can also be downloaded separately

LEGO Mindstorms

Ralph Hempel has posted "The latest and greatest" version of pbFORTH 1.0.6 and TclTk GUI for LEGO RCX Mindstorms

Open GL

An OpenGL binding for the lastest version of Win32Forth is available from

Quartus Forth

Quartus Forth is well known as an on-board standard Forth for the 3Com Palm PDA. Author Neal Bridges reports that it "is in daily use by developers in more than 15 countries". Quartus daVinci Forth is just about to be released; it's a similar on-board Forth environment for the Royal daVinci PDA.


TPFORTH is now up to v3.0.

Tiny Open Firmware

Tiny Open Firmware is a 16-bit implementation of the 32-bit Open Firmware standard for embedded 8051 and 68K/ColdFire applications. It's a Win32forth application with all source included and a PDF manual.



MPE has released the IRTC Forth cross compiler for the AVR family of processors for £245. More details on the MPE web site, including the manual for download.

MPE’s Forth Starter Kit CD contains complete versions of MPE’s 16 bit DOS Forth products, Modular Forth and PC PowerForth Plus, with the manuals on the CD in PDF format, and costs only £25.
Multitasking and Graphics are provided.
MPE’s ProForth for Windows v2.21 has recently been reduced in price. Now available from £145

ProForth for Windows v3.0 has now been released. PFW/VFX 3.0 features MPE’s VFX code generation technology which benchmarks much faster than other popular Forths. The benchmark results and benchmark code are available. Prices from £295

PSC1000 (ShBoom)

Keith Wootten reports that the Denison Mayes Group has developed a compact PSC1000 (ShBoom) processor board for in-house use, and has now made it generally available. It has a PSC1000 running at 64MHz, 4Mb Flash and 2Mb SRAM plus headers so that it can be 'piggybacked' onto a motherboard.

Issue 103 August



FIG UK Hardware Project

Orders continue to roll in for circuit board. Last month brings one from Sweden and one from Spain.


Interest in Forth

Anton Ertl reports that postings to comp.lang.forth have increased substantially, whereas others like Eiffel and Ada have declined. On July 11, 1997 clf had 233 postings and on July 16, 1999 had 470.

Forth FAQs

John Verne has updated the Forth FAQs at

All FAQ’s have been updated, including links to other URLs.


An outbreak of rhyming verse, much of it on Forth personalities, appeared on comp.lang.forth last month. FIG UK member Leo Wong has archived it

Chuck Moore

Chuck Moore gave a talk to the Silicon Valley Fig Chapter in May. Jeff Fox has put a report of his talk at:

euroFORTH '99

The 15th euroFORTH conference will be held on
September 17 - 20, 1999 at Institute for Informatics and Automation of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia

Forth Technology Symposium

After a long hiatus, JFAR (Journal of Forth Application & Research) held a symposium on June 20th. at the Johns Hopkins University, USA.
JFAR is the only peer reviewed Forth journal. See:


Forth web ring

Bill Zimmerly has now made it very easy for you to submit your Forth-related site to the Forth Programming Web Ring.  Just fill outthe form at:

Forth site in Japan

Fig UK member Graham Telfer has found the following Forth site in Japan. It’s in both English and Japanese.


Forth Motion system

Information on the Forth processor in a CPLD (custom programmable logic device) that controls four micro step motors can be found at:


The PSC1000 (the chip designed by Chuck Moore and formerly known as ShBoom) is now available and sells for about $10.
Performance comparisons can be found at:
Purchasing information at:



Version 2.03 of Ficl, a Forth written in ANSI C, is now available.

FORTH for Lego RCX Mindstorms

Ralph Hempel has released version 1.0.5 of pbFORTH for the Lego robotics system.


Minotaur 0.1 from Jean-Claude Wippler is a software tool written in Forth which lets you run Python scripts from Tcl, or Tcl from Perl, or any of the other combinations.


TpForth ( see June issue) version 2.6 is now available


Jeff Kelm has updated his webpage on Win32 API programming using Win32forth, see April issue.

Issue 102 June


Web sites

A new web site for Forth-Gesellschaft eV, the Forth interest group for the German language, has been installed at

A translation of the whole German Forth Web page into English is in progress.

Miller Microcomputer Services, a source of hard-to-find Forth books,  has  new Internet addresses. See the MMSFORTH Webpage for details.

UK company Triangle Digital Services have been producing Forth-based hardware and software for 18 years, with single board computer starter packs from £150. Visit their new web site at

Visit the new Russian FIG site which works on "Eserv" an internet server written in Forth!

Mark Humphries has created an experimental Forth Chat Room on ICQ.  ICQ# 37160535

Compiler Topics

Krishna Myneni has incorporated a parallel stack into his kForth to allow data type checking. The "type stack" allows kForth to check for valid addresses when memory access operations are performed. Visit his website for more details.

After a long running discussion on the subject, Philip Preston, a FIG UK comittee member, submitted a request for interpretation to the ANS Forth technical comittee regarding the issue of compiling while in interpret state.

The reply from Elizabeth Rather states:

"The TC does, however, wish to state categorically that its original intent was to make it clear that standard programs without environmental dependencies shall not assume access to functions specific to the Forth compiler except while actually in the compilation state."

A proposed Cross-compiler standard section for ANS Forth  has been posted for review at and ../Xcapp.doc

Forth Hardware

Patriot Scientific have now put the full data book for Chuck Moores ShBoom chip on their WebSite. Look for the file psc1000.pdf at\support\index.html

Co-operative Projects

John Rible of Sandpiper Technology, California invites anyone interested in the design of small CPUs running Forth to join in a "guided exploration"  group using a Xilinx FPGA evaluation kit.

The TpForth project organised by Technopoint Inc. is aimed at providing an open environment for the production of firmware for industrial embedded systems. Forth programmers are invited to help develop and test the system. Financial support and sponsorship for educational qualifications may be available.


Ultra Technology have been running a contest with the prize of a $1500 development system awarded at the end of April, May, June and July. There are several Forth related categories, including a category for "articles on Low Fat Computing or Forth".

Forth Systems

Bernd Paysan has added 3d Turtle Graphics to his MINOS graphics extension for bigForth. The swap dragon shown below is from an animated graphic created with the package.

Two-headed Dragon

4th is a compact Forth system written in C. It "runs on anything that features an ANSI-C compiler". 
Version 3.3a is now available.

Tom Zimmer had released  version 4.1 of  Win32Forth. Download it from

John Phillips has ported Phil Burk's pForth to the Psion5. See

DELTA Forth is a free Java based Forth system. 
Valer Bocan invites help from anyone interested in its development.


Congratulations to Fred Behringer who was elected winner of the Swap Dragon Award at the annual meeting of Forth-Tatung in Germany. The award was in recognition of Freds work for Forth-Gesellshaft and international relations.

The principles and ideas of Chuck Moore, originator of Forth, have often been discussed on comp.lang.forth, whilst Chuck himself has preferred to focus on doing Forth things rather than discussing them. However, in a departure from this practice, he has posted several messages recently to the newsgroup, hopefully the first of many to come.

Chuck was also speaking to the Silicon Valley FIG in May.

Experts Wanted

The Forth Interest Group business office in California has received several requests for assistance with legacy applications using LMI metacompiler(s). Contact the FIG office. E-mail:


The May 1999 edition of .EXE magazine carries an article by Neal Bridges entitled "From Rome to Arabia (with Forth)".

A recent posting on comp.lang.forth from Federico de Ceballos describes an application running on a Siemens AS990 in a nuclear plant. The original version was written in C and was replaced two years later by a Forth version which despite added features, runs 5 times faster and is 70% smaller!

Forthwrite has been issued with ISSN 0265-5195, our International Standard Serial Number. Forthwrite will now appear on the indexes of libraries worldwide who will be able to request photocopies of articles from issues via the British Library.

Robert Reiling

The sad news of the death of  Robert Reiling was posted on the Forth newsgroup.

Mr. Reiling was the primary organizer of the annual FORML Conference, and was a past President of the Forth Interest Group.

We extend our condolences to Bob's friends and family.

Issue 101 March


UK News

Forth for Psion

FIG UK member Matt Gumbley has a port of the ANS hForth available for Psion's Series 3 notebooks. A limited Forth is already available, but Matt's is open and has the hooks for TCP/IP.

Web Site Success

Dave Pochin reports that his guide to Getting Started in Forth (see previous issue for details) has had an amazing 700 visitors. He seems to be filling a real need there.

Price Cuts at MPE

MPE are now offering ProForth for DOS/Windows at a range of prices to suit users' needs. The entry-level offering is down to £295 for Windows 95/98/NT4 and £195 for DOS including 90 days support. Educational discounts are also available.

International News

SwiftForth Opportunities

FORTH Inc. are promoting their SwiftForth in new ways. Copies are now available for evaluation. Except for the fact that it (and any executables it makes) will expire in 30 days, this is a fully-functional version of SwiftForth, with all options and libraries. In addition, FORTH Inc. now has a program of offering SwiftForth for classroom use at no charge. Elizabeth Rather reports "There are at least 3 SwiftForth courses under way at this time."

4os from iTvc

iTvc is now offering an operating system designed to support Internet networking written entirely in Forth. A complete Internet system (OS, live Forth system, network stack, flash file system, GIF and JPEG decoder, fonts, network support applications, email and browser customer applications) requires less than 1/2 megabyte of program memory. With boot compression (comes standard, takes about 1 second) that system fits in a 128Kbyte ROM.

Java-based Forths - Delta

Version 0.8 of Delta Forth is now available free. The compiler has been built with JDK1.2 and works on any Java-enabled operating system. The new version supports Java libraries.

Java-based Forths - FIJI

Version 1.0 of Jack Woehr's "ForthIsh Java Interpreter" is released. FIJI is a stack-based interpretive Java layer with Forth-like syntax. It is useful for interactively debugging Java objects compiled normally, or as a scripting language.

Win32Forth v4.1

Win32Forth will be 5 years old this year and has won a devoted following. The new version includes support for right-mouse-button events and the HTML is now good enough to browse the dpANS94 document. Beta versions are available from Tom Zimmer.


Win32Forth is distributed with the 486ASM assembler from Jim Schnieder. Jim is now upgrading this for the Pentium MMX, Pro and II processors. Requests, please, to Jim.

ForthMacs for StrongARM

This 32-bit ANS Forth is now up to version 3.2 with faster WIMP and file functions.

Quartus Forth for Palm Pilot

Neil Bridges now offers v1.2.1 with floating-point words, and a Motorola DragonBall disassembler/decompiler. He describes it as "the perfect portable development environment. Goes anywhere the Palm goes! It's ready at a moment's notice -- take advantage of the creative urge wherever and whenever it happens."

Lego Forth

LEGO Mindstorms, from LEGO and MIT, is a robot-builders dream. Using a 16MHz H8/3292 microcontroller with 16K ROM and 32K RAM, programs are prepared on Windows 95 and downloaded through an infra-red link attached to the serial port. LEGO support a visual LOGO-like language and also an SDK.
Forth is now available for this platform from:
It's based on Wonyong Koh's ANS hForth and facilities are still being added.

Apple Mac

Mike Hore's Mops/PowerMops 3.4 is the new release of the public domain object-oriented Forth development system for Macintosh and Mac clone computers. Mops, a blend of Forth with Smalltalk-style object-oriented features, was first released over 10 years ago. The Mops environment allows running code in interpreted mode for interactive development, as well as optimized compilation to stand-alone apps.

Release 3.4 adds register temp objects, and initial support for the AltiVec vector processor that will be a part of the forthcoming G4 Macs.

Forth CMP Moves

Tom Almy is well known for his Forth compiler CMP. The web-site has changed and any links to should change to The ForthCMP page is now at:



The new version of Bruce McFarling's Writer (BMW) is now available at BMW is a development where Bruce McFarling has built on the 100% portable editor of FIG UK member Leo Wong. Bruce explores the issues of portability, usability and readability and delivers something useful along the way. BMW contains about 3,000 lines of commented source.


MANX is one of the few algorithmic music programming languages in existence with the sophistication to handle large-scale projects. It can drive soundcards and MIDI gear (even mixed), and there is a heavily used version for electromechanical devices. MANX reads and writes standard MIDI. It's free with iForth from Marcel Hendrix and has been available for many years.

Win32 API

The web-site providing Win32 API programming examples in Win32Forth has been updated. There are some new class libraries and old ones have been updated.

Technical Tips for MaxForth

MaxForth users may be interested in a new "TechTips" web page. It contains answers to common questions and snippets of code to run on Compusmart boards.

Julia v4.0

This fractal graphics program is now up to v4.0, which is faster, better and includes bug-fixes. Now has an optimiser and effectively unlimited colours. Also the system no longer takes significant GDI resources.

Processor Forth Benchmarks

Forth Inc have made public their benchmark results which compare a wide range of processors when running SwiftX Forth. This is potentially valuable information for anyone choosing a processor.


Forth In Top 10

Anton Ertl reports that, based on newsgroup traffic, Forth is around the top ten programming languages. For comparison, Modula 2 is learned by 3,000 students at Anton's university, but traffic has ceased entirely

Blazin Forth Interview

Some time back, Jim Lawless interviewed Scott Ballantyne for the Commodore Hacking e-zine. Scott is the author of Blazin' Forth for the Commodore 64 and the interview is now available at

Yahoo Forth Club

The Yahoo Internet company is now hosting a Forth "club" created by Steve Ahrendt at


Programming Jobs in UK

MPE and two of their clients need software people with Forth experience to work on embedded systems, cross compilers, and Windows systems. All the jobs are in the UK, two in the Southampton area. Dated 23rd March, so still current. Send your CV to Stephen Pelc.

Issue 100 January


It's very encouraging to read of FIG UK members in the news (see Leo W. and Thomas W. below). After a lengthy period in the wilderness, it's good to see that Dr.Dobbs has printed two Forth-related articles in succession and Dick Pountain gave Forth a mention in PC Pro. I reckon Forth is an elitist tool and it's never going to be centre stage, but it's up to us to make sure Forth is mentioned in the credits.This material is posted to the FIG UK web site a few days week before the Forthwrite magazine goes to the printers. Please send new material to Chris Jakeman.

Training in UK

Following a number of enquiries, a survey has found 5 providers able to undertake Forth training in the UK. Details have been posted on our web site for reference.

Tutorial Initiatives

FIG UK member, Leo Wong, is known for his codelets such as "0123" and reports that his new Simple Forth is up to Lesson 16.

In a second initiative, Leo is collecting examples of Forth words in common use but not included in ANS Forth. This may become a valuable source of expertise, so see what he has already and send your own offerings to

Jeff Kelm announces on the newsgroup a web page devoted to Win32Forth examples for GUI programming. There are also pointers to information on Win32 programming available there that may be of interest with whatever forth you wind up with.

Other FIG Chapters

Southern Ontario (Toronto) have invited Dr.Brad Rodriguez to present the Patriot Scientific PSC1000 microprocessor. Based on ShBoom, this is a novel 32-bit RISC processor optimized to execute stack-based languages, such as Java, Forth and Postscript. The processor achieves single-cycle execution and 100 MIPS peak performance with only 138,000 transistors, through a starkly simple CPU design -- without pipelines, parallel execution units, or other CPU accelerators.

Intended for low-power, low-cost systems, its power consumption is only 165 milliwatts at 100 MHz, giving it perhaps the most "MIPS per milliwatt" of any commercial microprocessor.

Large Programs

Don't let anyone say that large programs are impractical in Forth because it doesn't have facilities to support modular programming. Steve Pelc of MPE reports that the CCS construction planning system, used on the new Hong Kong airport, metro and many other major civil engineering projects world wide, is probably one of the the largest Forth applications around, shipping about 10 Mb of binary code. CCS are quite satisfied with the tools MPE supply to manage their code base.


Dick Pountain (author of Object-Oriented Forth) writes in PC Pro about the handheld PalmPilot computer and how convenient PilotForth is.

Dr.Dobbs January edition carried another Forth article, this time on John Sadler's Ficl (embedded Forth) announced in the previous issue of Forthwrite.

Forth Standards

On Nov 20th, the ANS Forth Technical Committee NCITS/J14 met to begin the review process. Meeting minutes are posted at the TC's web site.

An internationalisation paper was presented at EuroForth 98 and has recently been updated as a result of further contributions. This paper will be maintained as a rolling discussion document until an ANS proposal is made. The paper is available for download

Commercial Forth Systems

Sprint Canada Inc. have developed AVRForth, a Forth compiler for the Atmel series. It is targeted for the AT90S2313 & 4414, but can be used to develop & produce code for the 'baby' part (the 1200) or the 8515.

"We developed AVRForth initially for in-house use (we make sensors) because time to market is critical for us, but we are preparing to market it as a separate product."

MPE launches new optimising Forth cross compilers and v2.2 of ProForth for Windows.

Neal Bridges continues to post new releases for Quartus Forth (up from 0.81B to 1.0.5 in just 8 weeks).

"It's the perfect portable development environment. Goes anywhere the PalmPilot goes! Free evaluation version 1.0.5 is available for download now with a complete manual, library code, and example sources."

Free Forth Systems

The author of Aztec, FIG UK member Thomas Worthington, has provided a new version with has file words to add to the original block words.

Tom Zimmer has tired of releasing updates to Win32Forth and has merged them into a new release - version 4.0.

Anton Ertl announces v0.4.0 of gForth, with documentation, source and executables for no less than 13 systems including Win32, OS/2 and DOS.

Lots of minor improvements and now cross-compilers for these controllers and small CPUs: Siemens C16x, 8086, 6502, Mixed-Mode's FPGA MISC, Bernd Paysan's 4stack processor. Work continues on ShBoom alias PSC1000, H8, AVR and on easy links to C libraries and functions.

Douglas Beattie has revised the venerable Z80 CAMEL FORTH to assemble with the Zilog Macro Assembler. -- now you can assemble and develop a custom Z80 FORTH under DOS.

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