IEEE Computer Volume 15 Number 6 -- BOOK REVIEWS
Original Publication Date: 1982-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
True Seaborn: AUTHOR [+3]
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( Invitation to Forth -- Harry Katzan, Jr. Petrocelli Books, Princeton, N.J., 1981, 232 pp., $17.50).
Forth is a language so unique in its implementation and structure that neither the language nor its utility are understood by many people in the industry outside of the few who actually use it. Originally developed at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory around 1973, the lan guage has continued to evolve -- both at the observatory and elsewhere -- to the point where there are now several private companies with their own versions of Forth. These versions differ, and all have distinct purposes such as programming for a target machine or operating in an interactive laboratory environment. (Coordination among users is provided by the Forth Interest Group (FIG), P.O. Box 1105, San Carlos, CA 94070.)
Forth is useful in that it allows highlevel programming of machines that must interact with the real world while keeping the memory requirements and systems functions within the modest limits of microprocessors. However, Forth is definitely not a substitute for Basic or Pascal for general- purpose programming. Writing programs in these other languages, especially Pascal, is generally easier because they do not require the access to hardware that Forth allows.
Katzan states early on that he intends to promote the understanding of the Forth conception this book, and he goes on to claim that neither a background in programming nor access to a computer are required to understand it and to learn the Forth language. Because of this, the systems- related aspects of the language are omitted. One thing the author does not do is provide details on any one implementation. Instead, the reader is referred to the appropriate user guides.
Katzan does a fairly good job of the ad" mittedly difficult task of familiarizing the
reader with an entirely new computer language. He also provides some helpful insights as to how to best think about the language to successfully program in it. In the first five chapter...