Forth News 2002

Issue 118 September

Forth Resources

Forth Code Index

In August FIG UK launched the Forth Code Index, the first index to published source code with a global coverage.

FIG UK Enhances Web-Site

Jenny Brien has added a site map to the FIG UK web site. The site map includes a Google search of the site itself, especially useful for searching the archive of Forth News.

Getting Started

Dave Pochin has updated his long-established guide to getting started with Forth using Win32Forth. The update covers the latest version, Win32Forth v4.2067 [HTM]

TSCP Chess

Ian Osgood has announced 2 upgrades to his port of Tom Kerrigan's TSCP chess engine. These provide much higher performance, better documentation and some bug fixes.[HTM]

URL Monitor

Marcel Hendrix and Krishna Myneni have both published tools to monitor URLs such as web pages for changes.
Marcel's program [Source] makes use of the w3m browser.
Krishna's program [Source][More Examples] uses lynx and grep.

Electronic Filter

Marcel has also updated his FIR program for designing electronic filters [Graphs]

ANS Forth Published Papers

In the previous issue a link was provided to proposals for Internationalisation. Similar papers for cross-compiling [FTP]


Non-commercial Systems


Microsoft lists .NET Language Partners providing 16 languages that run on the .NET platform. The entry for the Forth language refers to Delta Forth shareware product from Valer Bocan.


"Delta Forth .NET integrates seamlessly into Microsoft's .NET platform and can interoperate with programs written in other .NET languages, such as C#, VB.NET, JScript, etc.. The Delta dialect is simple and easy to learn. It is excellent for academic environments and it's the perfect tool to write the scientific project you've always wanted."[FAQ]

The site also records a dispute with Tucows, the software library site. Tucows alleged behaviour can only be described as bizarre.[Story]

PicForth for 16F87x

Sam Tardieu has published his free Unix (or Linux) hosted Forth compiler for the Microchip PIC 16F87x family. It is in no way finished yet (hence the low version number 0.1) but does a good job at generating efficient code. [Download][Code Examples]

Aztec Forth for Windows

Thomas Worthington has reposted his Aztec Forth for Win32 which is pretty small, hand-written in assembler and allows full access to the DLLs. [Intro]


John Sadler reports Ficl release 3.03 is now available.[Download] [Documentation] Thanks to Daniel Sobral for this release, which includes a number of bug fixes.

Coming soon: Ficl 4.0 will feature a revised inner interpreter that's about twice as fast as the original.


A new version of kForth, version 1.0.12, is available for Linux and Windows [HTM Index]

Commercial Systems

Global Positioning System

Triangle Digital Services have developed a Forth-based data logging system which collects location information from a GPS receiver. The photo shows the logger and the black hemisphere which is the GPS.

GPS logger

Application areas include agriculture, security, transport, boats etc.. Information that can be logged includes longitude and latitude, date and time, pressures, temperatures, rotation rates, flow rates, linear or rotational position, doors open/closed etc.

To recover data you can read the card in a PC, upload through a serial port or read the data directly into Excel spreadsheet.

Issue 117 July

Commercial Systems


iForth is a multi-platform Forth that runs on DOS, WinNT, W2K and Linux. The new v2.0 of iForth features a completely new internal design that optimizes away most stack traffic. In benchmarks a speed increase of about 30% to 40% is measured. Compiling large projects is faster by a factor of about 1.5. Generated floating-point code outruns that produced by Microsoft's VC++ 6.0 compiler (full optimization).

4-bit Forth Microcontroller

Atmel Corporation is a worldwide leader in advanced integrated circuits and one of the elite few companies capable of integrating dense nonvolatile memory, logic and analog functions on a single chip.

Their 4-bit processor, MARC4 has a 4-bit architecture and is offered for applications such as wireless communication and reading telephone cards. Forth is used as the development environment and the CPU core is basically a Forth engine.

Non-commercial Systems

4th Website has Moved

4th is a free Forth compiler close to ANS Forth which is virtually crash-proof and can be used within C programs. Hans Bezemer reports that the web-site has moved to Please note the Forth Primer project continues to be hosted at

Help for kForth

The documentation for kforth 1.0.11 has been updated at The downloadable html doc package is called and is now in synch with the on-line user's guide.

pbForth Announcements

Ralph Hempel has announced lots of developments leading to v2.1.3 which provides support for USB tower under Windows and much more reliable communications. Also support for background processing and saving an entire system. Thanks to Darin Johnson, users can write new words in assembler right on the RCX. Source code for his H8/300 assembler is included in the distribution and tutorials are on the web-site.

The pbForth system was recently redesigned to be portable to any CPU that has a contiguous CODE/RAM space. It achieves this based on Chris Jakeman's MAF and passes the full ANS Hayes test suite.

A new tutorial has been published on playing music on the RCX. Near the end of the article, there's a description of how to hook into the 1 msec timer tick of the RCX - it's a perfect way to make a simple multi-tasker!

Ralph reports around 175 active members on the pbForth mailing list.

Forth Resources

ISO Extension to 2007

Elizabeth Rather reports that the ballot run by the US ISO liaison committee oncluded on 17th April in favour of confirming the ISO standard for a further 5 years.

ANS Forth Published Papers

In the previous Forth News, we reported that the ANS Forth of 1994 will be due for re-evaluation in 2005. Elizabeth reports that the Technical Committee (TC) "tried to reconvene in 1998-9, and did succeed in publishing papers on cross-compilers and internationalization, but were unable to progress much farther". [Papers] A new TC will be needed to take ANS Forth beyond 2005.

Chess Program

Jos Ven has published a 3D graphical chess program for Forth. The chess engine was ported by Ian Osgood and the graphics uses the OpenGL standard (which has been part of the Windows OS since Win98). The source works with Win32Forthv4.2.

More kForth Examples

Krishna Myneni has added to his extensive set of 57 sample Forth programs with one for calculating monthly payments on fixed interest loans.

SHRDLU is a program for understanding natural language, written by Terry Winograd at the M.I.T. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1968-70. SHRDLU carried on a simple dialog (via a teletype) with a user, about a small world of objects (the BLOCKS world) shown on an early display screen.

Krishna Myneni has ported the "son of SHRDLU" program written by Marcel Hendrix to ANS Forth. SHRDLU provides a limited 2-D world, with gravity, in which 4 colored boxes are placed. The user gives commands in natural language, and the program responds with the appropriate action. A new feature of this version is that the natural language commands are entered directly at the Forth interpreter (at the ok prompt) rather than being handled by a word. The program displays "intelligence" when the user asks it to put one block over another one when either or both of the two blocks already have another block stacked on them. It also can tell the user how the blocks are positioned relative to each other in the 2-D world.

xyplot is an example of a C++ GUI application that contains a Forth environment (kForth) embedded in it. Users may extend the application by writing Forth programs that can be loaded and executed by the application. Functions may be added to the application menus, and the Forth environment can also access some C++ functions.

The latest release of xyplot uses the latest kForth environment and is available for Linux.

Using TCP/IP to Link Microprocessors


Chris Stephens of Computer Solutions (Comsol) offers a 28-page guide to using TCP/IP in small-memory systems. Comsol provide several TCP/IP packages including one that fits into less than 5K of ROM.

Dynamic Strings Package

David Williams has updated his free package to v0.6.26 (When does it get to v1.0 - Ed?). These words are intended to work with, not replace, ANS Forth string words, which act on strings represented by address, length pairs on the data stack. ANS Forth strings are especially good for analysis and parsing of strings and substrings, while dynamic strings are especially good for putting pieces of strings together and keeping them available while they're needed, then reclaiming their memory when they're not.

Issue 116 March

Commerical Systems


PTSC is now allowing developers to download the fully functional IGNITE processor core and a complete development tools suite for evaluation and pre-production development. Ignite is a very fast stack processor based on the shBoom design by Chuck Moore which runs many Forth primitives directly.

"PTSC's 32-bit IGNITE(tm) processor cores outperform every rival RISC processor core available today-bar none."


Jeff Fox reports that his site at has accumulated over one million hits and a total of 162 GB was downloaded last month.

Forth Editor

ED for Windows (ED4W) does syntax highlighting, colouring, etc., for Forth words.

Non-commercial Systems

Mac OS X Forth

Daniel Engeler has released a new native FORTH for Mac OS X under the Gnu Public Licence. It's a high speed, small CLI application featuring stack caching, seamless integration of assembler and built-in help system. The author would appreciate feedback.


John Peters has set up a mail list for Win32Forth. You can join the list by sending a BLANK email to:


The latest version of PFE (32.7x) provides a choice between indirect threading and subroutine calls. This is only available for the i386 processor family so far. A total of 4 threading models are supported, reducing the time for the reported benchmark to 55% of the time for indirect threading.

Forth Resources

ANS Technical Committee

After 5 years, ANSI requires the Technical Committee to revise the published standard. E.Rather reports that "It became clear that the members didn't have enough time to do the extensive work necessary to complete a revision and take it through the necessary public reviews, so we ratified Forth94, and it will be due for re-evaluation in 2005.

However, a new TC will have to be organized and qualified. ANSI raised the annual dues from $200 to $800 (without notice) and most members of the TC resigned in protest, so the TC was officially disbanded for having too few members."

String Packages

Two references provided on comp.lang.forth are:

Issue 115 January



euroFORTH 2002

The 2002 event has been provisionally arranged for September in Austria at the Vienna University of Technology.

Non-commercial Systems

New Release for FICL

John Sadler has announced versions 3.01 and 3.02 of this much-respected system. These provide small improvements and bug-fixes. The Forth-Inspired Command Language (FICL) is written in portable C and provides a convenient interactive command line for mainstream platforms, including Windows, and also for specialist platforms.

More Information

CGI Scripting

Saul Scudder has made an example of a web-server CGI scripting program. It is free for non-commercial use and runs under Apache for Windows. This is an object-oriented Forth and string variables defined to capture the environment from Apache.

More Information

Forth Resources

FIG UK Mailing List

The mailing list for the F11-UK board and other projects has now moved to Yahoo. We are grateful to Graeme Dunbar and the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen for hosting the mailing list there for several years.

Forth Primer

Hans Bezemer, author of the 4th compiler, reports that the site of the Free Forth Primer Project has changed to It remains available from but this includes irritating banners.

Neil Bawd's Home Page

This site includes some valuable Forth sources (over 30 items). Macros are used in very powerful ways and there is also a web-publishing system for Forth code. Neil has now added the tools "Alphabetic List" and "Case-insensitive Compare". See

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