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8-bit/16-bit microcomputers with really good Forth compilers?


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Do you mean Jupiter Ace?

 

I don't know how good it was, but Datatronic used their own Forth for most of the early 80's development including award winning Calc Result for the C64, PET, B128.. not sure about the IBM PC version. Datatronic sold VIC Forth up to version 2 IIRC, and if you break into one of the versions of Calc Result, you might find yourself inside Forth version 3.

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The Jupiter Ace is about on par with the Sinclair ZX-80 series. I wouldn't bother.

There are versions of Forth for pretty much every major personal computer.
Most are based on some common port for a given CPU.
There's fig Fourth, Camel Forth, volksFORTH, etc...
Pick the machine you want and then pick the Forth that goes with it.

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Why would you want a compiler? One benefit of the Forth Virtual Machine is to create extremely compact, threaded code. This is why it was so popular on 8-bit systems, along with speed over BASIC. Compiling a program creates big binaries, so it might add some speed but it will also negate a major benefit to 8-bit systems.

 

Check out Durex FORTH for the Commodore 64. It is amazing, has an active community and Facebook page.

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Why would you want a compiler? One benefit of the Forth Virtual Machine is to create extremely compact, threaded code.

Uhh ... I'm no expert on Forth, but I believe that you need a compiler to handle colon definitions. : turns on the compiler, and ; turns it off (I know that's not the whole story, but it's a very important part anyway). No compiler = no new definitions. Thankfully, every Forth I have checked out so far has a simple compiler included in the base package.

 

Mike B.

Edited by barrym95838
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To me, a non-standard development environment which is required to load and run software is mostly a sandbox. Indeed Forth could be seen as an operating system rather than a language, but with a full compiler and possibly an integrated runtime, you can distribute your finished binaries even to users who don't have the development environment. The same could of course be said about BASIC but most of the earlier systems defaulted to that language being part of ROM and thus would form some sort of "operating system".

 

While it hasn't been confirmed, I strongly believe VIC-20 games such as A World At War and Bridge 20 were developed in Forth and compiled in order to fit as 8K cartridge games. If one tries to follow the machine code, it is a rat's nest with calls to common subroutines with various arguments all the time which to me looks like a built-in runtime. Most other games have rather straight machine code that is easy to disassemble and follow for comparison. I should analyze some of the C64 versions, at least Bridge 64 to see if it is just as much a rat's nest. As I noted about Calc Result Advanced though, it seems to have been distributed with the entire environment built into it rather than compiled binary.

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