(Recommended for advanced programmers/Written in machine language)

For several reasons, the FORTH language has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Many advanced programmers find that FORTH is a good development tool for applications requiring high speed and low memory consumption, such as process control, systems software, and games. For these kinds of jobs, a FORTH program often runs 10 to 100 times faster than does a BASIC program. FORTH also requires much less memory than does BASIC to perform the same function. Because FORTH wasn’t designed for floating point calculations (although they’re possible), it isn’t normally used for business applications, number crunching, and the like. However, it fills the gap nicely between BASIC and machine language programming. On the one hand, programming in FORTH is usually easier than programming in machine language, but FORTH programs don’t run as fast as machine programs do. On the other hand, programming in FORTH is sometimes slower than programming in BASIC, but FORTH programs run faster than BASIC programs do.

The utilities included on the FORTH diskette are: (1) MACRO assembler, (2) Screen Editor, and (3) Output Formatter for structured FORTH listings. We offer this version of FORTH courtesy of the FORTH Interest Group, P.O. Box 1105, San Carlos, CA 94070. This implemen- tation greatly expands FORTH to include facilities to access the graphics and I/O control on ATARI computers.

Review Comments:

“This is a very comprehensive implementation of FORTH. ATARI has used it internally for well over a year; hence, it’s well debugged. FORTH is also quite compact — it’s one of the few things that can run (small programs) on a 16K disk system. A 24K disk system can do a lot with FORTH.”

“FORTH is not for beginners. It requires a solid background in programming before it makes much sense. The accompanying documentation is preliminary and rough. If you’re just starting out with FORTH, you’ll need to acquire one of the introductory books recommended in the documentation.”

“This version of FORTH doesn’t use the standard DOS file structure. Therefore, a FORTH file can’t be read by a BASIC program or vice versa. Also, FORTH diskettes can’t be copied or examined by standard DOS; however, FORTH can handle these functions itself through a user-written program.”

Diskette (Order No. APX-20029)

Fig FORTH Mentions...

APX, Issue: 01 – Summer, 1981
Advert on page 14, $39.95