12 Aug 2002 mslicker   » (Journeyer)

Forth and standardization

tk, Language standardization is not for the benifit of coders. It is completely for marketing sake. The computing industry wants replacable parts. The last the thing they want is to be dependent on the talent of individuals. If you program in Forth and you leave, they believe replacing you with a "Forth programmer" will be just as good. But this is only an illusion, good programmers can program in any language, and can pick up new ones quickly. Some Forths, like colorForth, could be picked up within a day given proper training, even for programmers with no prior Forth experience. Language standardization only serves to gloss over differences of programmers and languages.

The Forth standard, and probably all language standards, was made to apeal to this industry. The ironic thing is that now that Forth has a standard it probably used less overall, and when used lacks many of the benefits of the original.

While I make no claims what real Forth is. colorForth is the one the Forth that got my attention. Previously, I did not have much interest in Forth, even though Forths are readily available for GNU. This makes me believe Forth is not just a superficial language, a syntax, but there is much more. There is a philosophy and also an aesthetic for simplicity and elegance. The virtual machine, that was avoided in the ANSI spec, is the embodiment of Forth machine philosphy. These machines are not only ideal for the execution of Forth, but show advantages for Rule-based systems and functional programming. colorForth seems well in keeping with the spirit and philosophy of Forth. It is encouraging that the lastest effort from the creator is, after many years, colorForth, and not "Visual Forth.NET Development Studio 2000 Professional Edition".

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