dwight dkelvey at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 28 13:55:34 CDT 2020

There are a few reasons most don't like Forth:

  1.   no type checking ( suppose to save dumb programmers )
  2.   Often, no floating point. ( Math has to be well thought out but when done right in integer math it has few bugs ).
  3.  Few libraries ( One can often make code to attach to things like C libraries but it is a pain in the A. Often if you know what needs to be done it is easier and better to write your own low level code. Things like USB are tough to get at the low level stuff, though )
  4.  To many cryptic symbols ( : , . ! @ ; )
  5.  To much stack noise ( dup swap rot over )

I still use Forth for all my hobby work. It is the easiest language to get something working of any of the languages I've worked with.
I recently wanted to work on some 4004 source code, I got my hands on( really hard to find ). I needed to write an assembler ( and disassembler to check it ), a simulator and instrumentation to emulate the target hardware. The source code was poorly printed such that letters like P and F, 0 and C were easily confused. I was able to quickly try different combinations as I was able to edit source, assemble and display emulation results in milliseconds.
I can't think of anything in any other language that would be that flexible. When running the emulation, one could make any number of shortcuts to deal with complicated stimulus and display. Each targeted exactly to the current problem to be solved, not too much and not too little.
Learning to be effective with Forth has a relatively steep learning curve. You have to understand the compiler and how it deals with your source code. You need to get used to proper comments to handle stack usage. You need to learn how to write short easily test words ( routines ). It is clearly not just a backwards LISP. It is not Python either.

From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org> on behalf of Bill Gunshannon via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2020 6:39 AM
To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Subject: Re: DIBOL and RPG for RSTS

On 3/27/20 8:48 PM, Paul Koning wrote:
>> On Mar 27, 2020, at 8:42 PM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
>> On 3/27/20 8:25 PM, Paul Koning wrote:
>>>> On Mar 27, 2020, at 6:12 PM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
>>>> Does anyone have a .tap image of a DIBOL install tape for RSTS?
>>>> And while I am at it, was there ever RPG for RSTS?
>>>> I am so bored I have decided to really load up a SIMH system
>>>> and just live in the past for a while.  I have Fortran-IV,
>>>> Fortran-77, COBOL-81 and C installed now as well as BASIC and
>>>> MACRO.  But I  haven't had the chance to do any DIBOL or RPG
>>>> for quite some time and would love to try them again.
>>> If you want to try something entirely different, dig up the FORTH runtime system that's part of the V10.1 "unsupported" kit.  It's a neat language.  Still in use, in fact.
>> I used that FIG FORTH package ages ago on real PDP-11's.
>> Was never impressed with Forth so much.  Only time I was
>> impressed was when I worked with OpenPROM which was all
>> written in Forth.  Wanted to do one for the PDP-11 but
>> lost interest when Sun gave it to IEEE and they wanted
>> several thousand dollars just to look at it.
>> Now I am more interested in sticking with the serious
>> business languages that ran on the PDP-11.
>> bill
> Ok.  The RSTS Forth is more than FIG-FORTH; it adds the FORTH-83 (FORTH-79?) language standard features.  I used it for several applications, the biggest by far is SDA, an interactive RSTS crash dump analyzer.  4600 lines of code...  It should be in the kit.

I saw that FORTH was there but, as I said, FORTH didn't
really interest me beyond the project I had that died on
the vine thanks to the greed of the IEEE.  Maybe I'll
look in to that again sometime, but it would be low on
my list of priorities at this point.  I actually have
FORTH on a number of different systems but have done
little beyond comparing them.


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