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comp.lang.forth FAQ: Books & Periodicals (5 of 7)

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        comp.lang.forth Frequently Asked Questions, part 5 of 6
                   Books, Periodicals, and Tutorials

                       Chris Jakeman, 3 Dec 1999

  Changes since the previous posting are marked with a "|".
  Please send your updates, comments or suggestions to me


| Subject: Table of Contents

        [1] Books - Organisation
        [2] Books - Tutorial
        [3] Books - Advanced
        [4] Books - Related
        [5] Periodicals
        [6] Standards Documents
        [7] On-line - Tutorials
        [8] Other documents
        [9] Suppliers
|      [10] Libraries
       [11] Indexes

Subject: [1] Books - Organisation There is not space here to provide an abstract to every book on Forth. Instead this is a guide to those items which Forth users have found most helpful, together with a list of other Forth books. If you have been especially helped by a book, please write me an abstract for it. Where publications are not widely available, a supplier is listed. Approximate prices are given as a guide.
Subject: [2] Books - Tutorial "Starting FORTH: an introduction to the FORTH language and operating system for beginners and professionals" Leo Brodie, Prentice Hall 1981 (2nd Ed., 1987), 346 pages, ISBN 0-13-843079-9, price $29. An ANS version is in preparation. Chris Jakeman <> writes: This is the classic introduction to Forth, with helpful cartoons, exercises and solutions. See also Brodie's "Thinking Forth" below. Glen Haydon writes "To try out the exercises, use MVP Forth which matches exactly except for ' (tick). See" Forth Guide, from Mountain View Press, is a guide to MVP Forth and complements Starting Forth and is available on-line at The exercises have also been ported to ANS Forth by Ben Hoyt, see "The Forth Programmer's Handbook" E.Conklin & E.Rather, Forth Inc. 1997, 228 pages ISBN 0-9662156-0-5, price $50. This book is aimed at experienced programmers new to Forth and is more detailed and technical than "Starting Forth". It is also a good reference for ANS Forth. See for excerpts. "The Forth Course" Richard Haskell, 156 pages with disk, price $25, supplier FIG. FIG writes: This set of 11 lessons is designed to make it easy for you to learn Forth. The material was developed over several years of teaching Forth as part of a senior/graduate course in desing of embedded software computer systems at Oakland Univeristy in Rochester, Michigan. "FORTH: A Text And Reference" Mahon Kelly and Nick Spies, Prentice-Hall, 1986, 487pps ISBN 0-13-326331-2 and in hardcover 0-13-326349-5, $19 and $25 from MMS below. Dick Miller <> writes: Very readable, covers beginner level through relatively advanced, including Assembler and 8087 math co-processor details, particularly appropriate to IBM PC and MMSFORTH, but very strong for general use as well. The only college-level Forth textbook, complete with exercises and answers. "Forth Applications In Engineering And Industry" John Matthews, Ellis Horwood, 1989 ISBN 0-85312-659-3, price UKP35. Currently out of print, this book may be available from libraries. MPE Ltd. <> writes: If you are starting out in the field of real-time control of hardware using Forth, then this book is for you! This text covers most aspects of real-time control under Forth, from the very basics of what Forth is, through to control loops and digital implementations of analogue filters. "Embedded Controller FORTH for the 8051 family" William H. Payne, Academic Press, 1990, 511 pages with DOS disks, ISBN 0125475705, price $80 book, $20 disk. J. Fulcher, Computing Reviews, 9105-0316 writes: ... This hobbyist-style book goes into considerable detail regarding the implementation of FORTH on the i8051 family of microcontrollers (down to circuit diagrams, PCB layouts, and wire-wrap board schematics) ... Almost two-thirds of this book is devoted to appendices -- 19 in all. These primarily contain code listings ... Paul Frenger, SIGFORTH, 2(4):31-32, 1990 reviews the book and gives it 10/10. Notes that the book contains everything you need: all the source is there as well as all the circuit diagrams. There are 19 appendices, which make up half of the book, and contain things like: the source to the 8086 Forth, 8051 Forth, full screen editor code, 8051 disassembler code, Nautilus metacompiler, 8086/8051 meta-assemblers, Forth decompilers and much more. "Forth from Inside" Viviane Beullens, on-line only, 1998, 100 pages, contact, price $30 Intended Audience: Beginners in Forth programming Reasons to read it: to get started in Forth Paul Frenger <> writes: I just got the Forth Archive CD/ROM from MVP (see section 7) and it's great! Glen Haydon also has an excellent collection of Forth books and software, much of it seminal (ie: ancient), that FIG no longer carries or never carried. His "All About Forth" reference is the single most useful Forth-internals book I have ever seen." Other titles are: 93, Koller, FORTH und FORTH-Prozessoren, expert-verlag, 3-8169-0785-7 92, Petremann and Guillaumaud, TURBO-Forth: TFGRAF Manuel du package graphique pour TURBO-Forth, MP7 90, Zech, Forth for Professionals, Ellis Horwood, 0-13-327040-8 88, Anderson and Tracy, Mastering Forth 87, Henric-Coll, La Practique du Forth avec Hector I 87, Zech, Die Programmiersprache FORTH, Franzis-Verlag GmbH Muenchen, Recommended by Dusan Vukic <> and Andreas Jung <> It describes mainly the Fig-Forth model and goes deeply into details. The dialects Forth-79 and Forth-83 are also described in a special chapter. 86, TURBO-Forth: Manuel d'apprentissage, REM Corp 86, TURBO-Forth: Guide de référence, REM Corp 85, Bishop, Exploring Forth, Prentice-Hall, 0-246-12188-2 85, Burnap, Forth, The Fourth-Generation Language 85, McCabe, Kevin, et Axel Harvey, _Le_Forth_, 1985, Mount Royal (Quebec), Modulo, ISBN 2-89113-048-0; Paris (France), Belin, ISBN 2-7011-0587-0. 85, Olney and Benson, Fundamental Forth, Pan Books 85, Petremann, Zupan and Presmenil, FORTH pour CP/M & MSDOS, Loisitech 85, Salman, Forth, Macmillan 0-333-36798-7 84, Anderson, Mastering Forth, Bowie (yes, same title as Tracy above :) 84, Armstrong, Learning Forth 84, Chirlian, Beginning Forth 84, Lampton, Forth for Beginners 84, Oakley, Forth For Micros, Newnes Technical Books, 0-408-01366-4 84, Petremann and Rousseau, Tours de Forth, Eyrolles 84, Wainwright, BASIC & Forth In Parallel, Babani (Pub.), 0-85934-113-5 83, de Grandis-Harrison, Forth on the BBC Microcomputer, 0-907876-06-4 83, McCabe, Forth Fundamentals, Matrix 83, Petremann and Rousseau, ZX-FORTH, Eyrolles 83, Winfield, The Complete Forth, Sigma Technical Press, 0-905104-22-6 82, Hogan, Discover Forth, Osborne 82, Scanlon, Forth Programming, Sams 81, Katzan, Invitation to Forth, Petrocelli Books 81, Knecht, Introduction To Forth, Sams ??, Hendtlass, Real-Time Forth (on-line in Postscript format from at ??, Pitman, Pocket Guide to Forth MVP-Forth Series 1 - All About Forth, '90, Haydon 2 - MVP Forth source listings, '83?, Haydon & Kuntz 3 - Integer and Floating Point, '83, Koopman 4 - Expert System, '84, Park 5 - File Management System, '84, Moreton 6 - Expert Tutorial, '84, Derick 7 - Forth Guide, '85, Haydon 8 - IBM Professional Application Development System, '85, Wempe 9 - Word Processor And Calculator, Programmers Guide, '85, Wempe 10 - Word Processor And Calculator, File & Print source, '85, Wempe See also the FAQ: on-line - part 2/6, for tutorials and Forth systems to try them on.
Subject: [3] Books - Advanced "Scientific FORTH: a modern language for scientific computing" Julian V. Noble, Mechum Banks Publishing, 1992, 300 pages, ISBN 0-9632775-0-2, price $50 incl. disk. (1st Ed. sold out, FIG still has a few, also Peer-To-Peer Communications Inc, San Jose CA at $40 without disk) Julian V. Noble <jvn@fermi.clas.Virginia.EDU> writes: While not intended for the Forth novice, Scientific FORTH contains a good many serious examples of Forth programming style, useful programs, as well as innovations intended to simplify number crunching in Forth. It can now be found in the libraries of several major universities (e.g. Yale, U. of Chicago and Rockefeller U.) and government and industrial laboratories (e.g. Fermilab and Motorola). It comes with a disk containing all the programs discussed in the book. "Thinking FORTH" Leo Brodie, Prentice Hall, 1984, ??? pages, ISBN: 0-13-917576-8 and 0-13-917568-7 (pbk.), price $20. Dick Miller <> writes: This is a top-notch book on strategy, and always was our [MMS] top recommendation for the SECOND book, after you bought a textbook to learn the Forth words. This one teaches you which ones to select when, how to hone your habits for better Forth (and other) programming, etc. It's been unavailable for a year or two, and has been reprinted at last! MMS has worked to reduce its price from a proposed $40 (in paperback), and is pleased to offer it at $19.95. "Forth: The Next Step" Ron Geere, Addison-Wesley, 1986, 89 pages, ISBN 0-201-18050-2, price ??. Stephen J. Bevan <> writes: As the title might suggest, this is not for the complete beginner. It is aimed at those who have mastered the idea of reverse polish ... etc. and now want to do something a bit more complicated. Covers areas like: using double length numbers, formatting, reading/writing values from/to a port and `infinite' precision integers. "Object-oriented Forth - Implementation of Data Structures" Dick Pountain Academic Press, 1987, 108 pages, ISBN 0-12-563570-2, price $35. Chris Jakeman <> writes: Pountain <> is a Byte contributing editor. His "book sets out to develop systematic ways of constructing complex data structures in Forth ... with a few easy to use syntax extensions to the language." Efficient techniques for records and arrays are presented and refined with great clarity. Objects are built from these by adding methods with a small change to the dictionary structure. The techniques are demonstrated using lists, a heap and a dynamic simulation of queuing at the bank. "Forth: The New Model - A Programmer's Handbook" Jack Woehr, M&T Publishing, 1992, 315 pages, ISBN: 0-13-036328-6, DOS disk included, price $45. Describes features of ANS Forth and how to use it to write portable Forth programs. Published 2 years before the Standard was approved, it predicts the Standard very closely. Currently the only book about ANS Forth. Ong Hian Leong <> writes: The author is (as at time of print) VP of Forth Interest Group and member of X3J14, so he presumably knows what he's talking about. 8-) Threading mechanisms: Stephen Pelc <> says "The best analysis of the tradeoffs of threaded code and memory performance can be found in Interpretation and Instruction Path Coprocessing by Eddy H. Debaere and Jan M. Van Campenhout, MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-04107-3" Mike Coughlin <> writes: The best article ever published on the subject, "Varieties of Threaded Code for Language Implementation" by Terry Riter and Gregory Walker, Byte Magazine, Sep. 1980 (not in August which was a special Forth issue) and reprinted by FIG along with the other Forth articles from Byte. Also available on the Byte CD. Also see Anton Ertl's paper at forth/threaded-code.html Neal Crook <> recommends "a good paper" by Brad Rodriguez, from a series in "The Computer Journal" at in which he specifically addresses the question of choosing a threading model for a given processor. For some notes on token-threading, try looking at stuff related to Brad Eckert's Firmware Factory, at "Designing and Programming Personal Expert Systems" Townsend, Carl, Feucht, Dennis, TAB Books Inc, 1986, ISBN: 0-8306-2692-1. Not in print. Contains LISP and Prolog emulations in Forth, including a unification algorithm. It also has some minimum distance classifier code. The application is fault diagnosis in locomotives. Carl Townsend & Dennis Feucht, _Designing and Programming Personal Expert Systems_, Tab Books, 1986. "eForth Implementation Guide" Dr.C.H. Ting, available from FIG, 54 pages, $25 Dave Taliaferro <> writes: This is a good book for building your own Forth system. I used this to port eForth to a DSP. Teaches how to build Forth from assembly macros and primitives. There are eForth versions for several processors. Other titles are: 90, Zech, Forth for Professionals, Ellis Horwood, 0-13-327040-8 from Computer Literacy on 408-435-0744. includes a discussion on threading mechanisms. 87, Dr.Dobb's Toolbook of Forth, Vols I & II, M&T Publishing 86, Reynolds, Advanced Forth, Sigma 86, Terry, Library of Forth Routines and Utilities 85, Olney and Benson, Forth Techniques, Pan Books, 0-330-28961-6 85, Roberts, Forth Applications, ELCOMP Publishing, 3-88963-061-8 84, Feierbach, Forth Tools and Applications, Reston 81, Loeliger, Threaded Interpretive Languages, Byte Books, 0-07-038360-x ----------------------------- Subject: [4] Books - Related "FORTH -- A Language for Interactive Computing" C.H.Moore and G.C.Leach, 1970 This first paper to use the name "Forth" describes it as it was in 1970. There are surprising differences from and surprising similarities with modern Forth systems. Available on-line at: "The Evolution Of FORTH - An Unusual Language" C.H.Moore, Byte, Aug. 1980. Forth's history by its creator. "The Evolution of Forth" E.D.Rather, D.R.Colburn, C.H.Moore, ACM SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 28, No.3 March 1993, 46 pages. An larger and more recent history of Forth by the early pioneers. This is also available on the Forth Inc. home page at "OpenBoot Command Reference" part no: 800-6076-11, revision A, March 1993 and "Writing FCode Programs" Sun, sold by the Forth Interest Group. It's $50-$60. "Stack Computers: The New Wave" Phillip Koopman, John Wiley & Sons, 1989, ISBN 0-470-21467-8, price $82. Stephen J. Bevan <> writes: This isn't a book about Forth, rather it is about computers that potentially execute Forth very efficiently. The book contains a detailed overview of a number of Forth chips as well as a potted history of what seems to be every stack-based computer ever designed. Paul Frenger, SIGFORTH, 1(3):28-29, 1989 writes: Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who programs in Forth or any other high level language of whatever variety, or who is interested in the hardware details of Forth engines or the pitfalls of conventional CPU design. Stack Computers is in print from Mountain View Press, see http;// The author <> reports (July 96): My stack computer architecture book has recently gone out of print, but I still receive occasional inquiries as to availability. The former publisher, Ellis Horwood Ltd., has graciously returned the copyright ownership to me. So, I have decided to place the book on-line at The book contains, among other things, case studies of seven late-80's stack computers. Perhaps there is renewed relevance with Java (and, perhaps not -- that question has already been debated at length). The book is still copyrighted, but is readable in its entirety from the above URL (see the copyright statement at that URL for details). I don't have time, and there doesn't seem to be market demand at this point, for a revised edition. However, if you e-mail me pointers to web sites that describe newer stack computer information, I will consider putting them in the on-line supplement as time permits. "More on Forth Engines" Dr.C.H.Ting, Editor For a description of each issue see: "Write Your Own Programming Language Using C++" Norman Smith, Wordware Publishing, Plano, Texas. 108 pages, DOS disk included, ISBN 1-55622-264-5, price: $15. Norman E. Smith <> writes: This book presents a minimal Forth implementation called Until, for UNconventional Threaded Interpretive Language. Until is designed to be used as a macro language embedded in other applications. It can both call and be called by other C functions. Chris Jakeman <> writes: Continued development has enhanced Until since this publication. For details of the latest public version, see FAQ: system - part 4/6. "Thinking Postscript" Glenn Reid, out-of-print but now on-line at" Olivier Lefevre <> writes: This classic book is not a cookbook but instead goes into the philosophy of PostScript, which has much in common with Forth.
Subject: [5] Periodicals Forth Dimensions (ISSN 0884-0822) Published 6 issues/year to members; Marlin Ouverson, editor <>. Subscriptions are US$45/year, plus US$15/year for foreign subscriptions. Forth Interest Group, 100 Dolores St, Suite 183, Carmel, CA 93923 USA, | 831 373 6784 FAX: 831 373 2845 | Brad Rodriguez <> writes: Forth Dimensions is the official publication of the Forth Interest Group, and is probably the foremost journal devoted exclusively to the Forth language. It has been in publication since 1979. FORML and euroForth Conference Proceedings Published annually by FIG at $40. FORML is an educational forum for sharing and discussing new or unproved proposals intended to benefit Forth. The first conference was held in 1980 and euroForth conferences began in 1992. FIG (above) publishes an index for these. Rochester Forth Conference Published annually by the Institute for Applied Research at $25 to $35 (depending on year). The conference covers all topics of Forth implementation and application. Conferences began in 1981. See for an index. Does anyone have information about: - conferences in Australia, China etc.? Journal of Forth Application and Research (ISSN 0738-2022) Published nominally 4 issues/year; Institute for Applied Forth Research Inc., Box 1261, Annandale, VA 22003, USA. Peter Knaggs <> writes: JFAR is the only peer-reviewed Forth journal. It has been revived after a long hiatus, see The Computer Journal Published 6 issues/year; Dave Baldwin, editor <>. Subscriptions are US$24/year in U.S., US$34/year Canada/Mexico (air mail), US$44/year foreign (air mail). The Computer Journal, P.O. Box 3900, Citrus Heights, CA 95611-3900 USA, telephone 916-722-4970, fax 916-722-7480, email, <>. Brad Rodriguez <> writes: The Computer Journal is not a Forth magazine; it is devoted to "classic", small, and non-mainstream computers. It frequently carries articles about the Forth language. ACM SIGPlan Notices The ACM SIGPlan Notices journal has a Forth column which appears approximately six times a year. ACM, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036-5701, 212-869-7440 Vol.31 No.4, Apr 96: "Survey of Object Oriented Forths" Vol.31 No.4, Apr 96: "Toward an Object Oriented Forth" Vol.31 No.8, Aug 96: "Thoughts on the 1996 Rochester Forth Conference" Vol.31 No.12, Dec 96: "A Whirlwind Tour of Forth Resources" Vol.32 No.2, Feb 97: "Introduction to the Beetle Forth Virtual Processor" Vol.32 No.4, Apr 97: "A Review of Robotics Languages" Vol.32 No.6, Jun 97: "Forth as a Robotics Language" Vol.32 No.11, Nov 97: "Venturing Forth with a Flashlight" Vol.33 No.2, Feb 98: "Observations on the EuroForth 97 Conference" Vol.33 No.3, Mar 98: "The Growing Machine, a Pre-Forth Language Implementation" Some national FIG groups publish their own periodicals, eg - Forthwrite (ISSN 0265-5195) (6 issues/year) from FIG UK and - Vierte Dimension (4 issues/year) from Forth-Gesellschaft e.V. See the FAQ: groups - part 6/6 for details.
Subject: [6] Standards Documents For details of the Forth standards see the FAQ: general - part 1/6. Published standards since 1978 are Forth 79 and Forth 83 from the Forth Standards Team, ANS Forth - document X3.215-1994 - by the X3J14 Technical Committee and the Open Boot Standard. The most recent standard, ANS Forth, defines a set of core words and some optional extensions and takes care to allow great freedom in how these words are implemented. The range of hardware which can support an ANS Forth Standard System is wider than any previous Forth standard and probably wider than any programming language standard ever. The document includes 90 pages of annexes, providing an insight into the decisions which had to be taken in drafting ANS Forth. Copies of the standard cost $193 from the American National Standards Institute Sales Department (212) 642-4900, but the final draft of ANS Forth is free and available (subject to copyright restrictions) at: (Word For Windows, v2) (Word For Macintosh) (plain ASCII) ANS Forth was adopted by ISO as an international standard and published in June 97 as ISO/IEC 15145:1997 The Open Boot Standard defines the use of Forth to configure the hardware attached to a computer at startup. It is a token-threaded, open standard closely modelled on ANS Forth used by Sun, IBM, Motorola and Apple. See also section 6 below: IEEE Std 1275-1994 is recognised as an American National Standard: "IEEE Standard for Boot (Initialization Configuration) Firmware: Core Requirements and Practices, IEE Std 1275-1994, 262p, ISBN 1-55937-426-8, about $60 from IEEE Computer Society at The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Inc. 345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017-2394, USA, voice 1-908-981-1393, fax: 1-908-981-9667, web:, email See also the Sun web-site to find: All manuals from Sun Holds the working group documents. ------------------------------ Subject: [7] On-line Tutorials Getting Started with Forth -- More a guide to getting started than a Forth tutorial, Dave Pochin (FIG UK) has published this guide to help you find, install and run your first Forth. Step-by-step instructions carry you over the pitfalls and get you going in the shortest possible time. The material is also packaged for easy downloading. Julian Noble's Forth Primer (at dates from 1992 and he has now updated it (1999) to suit Win32Forth. The new primer is at ------------------------------ Subject: [8] Other Documents CHIPS For details of the F21 chips, see For the RTX2010 from Harris Semiconductor, see (Intersil bought the company) Except some slight differences in the instruction set, this document is applicable to the RTX2000. The processors are pin-compatible. OPTIMISING Bernd Paysan writes "Anton Ertl wrote a paper, 'RISCs Are Faster Than Stack machines', several years ago - you can find it on his homepage, He explains how to write an optimizing Forth compiler that compiles to code approximately as good as a good C compiler generates on the same machine. RAFTS is well and alive (although it currently generates code only for MIPS processors)." THREADING Peter M. Kogge, "An Architectural Trail to Threaded-Code Systems", IEEE Computer Journal, Mar 1982, pages 22-32 - Explains the design of (a classical implementation of) Forth, starting with threaded code, then adding the parameter stack, constants, variables, control structures, dictionary, outer interpreter and compiler." SB writes: "A most excellent discussion on all threading varieties by Brad Rodriquez is at Be sure to download the Figures showing code layout for each threading method." Anton Erlt discusses the threading alternatives in
Subject: [9] Suppliers Brad Rodriguez <> writes: Most of these books and conference proceedings are available from the Forth Interest Group, P.O. Box 2154, Oakland, CA 94621 USA, | telephone 831 373 6784, fax 831 373 2845 | and | 1999 prices: Starting Forth $50, Thinking Forth $35, $10 p&p Other suppliers include: FORTH Inc. - email to Miller Microcomputer Services (MMS) - email to Mountain View Press (MVP) - email to Box 429, Star Route 2 La Honda, CA 94020, voice: 415-747-0760 and, in the UK, MicroProcessor Engineering Ltd.(MPE) - email to | 1999 prices: Starting Forth £31.50, Thinking Forth £22, £2 p&p Why not call them for list of their Forth publications in print? ------------------------------ | Subject: [10] Libraries | | The only lending library dedicated to Forth is run by FIG UK who have | almost every English language publication including the Brodie books | and all recent material. | | Loans are free (you pay postage both ways) but you must become a | member. Subscriptions (1999) are £12/year. For details including the | full stock list, see
Subject: [11] Indexes Currently there is no single on-line index to books or published papers about Forth. FIG supplies a printed index of FORML and euroForml papers. and find 45 books but omit some important ones like Scientific Forth. Peter Knaggs maintains a growing on-line database (nearly 600 references) to papers from euroFORML, euroForth and Rochester conferences, also books and standards. Use to search the database (also available as a BibTeX bibliographic file from Gnu Zip (167K) PK Zip (169K)) Miller Microcomputer Services maintains an on-line bibliography at

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