News, Reviews & Letters Index > Letter - What is FORTH-79?

Popular Computing Weekly 30 June 1983 Letter - What is FORTH-79?

David Tattnall of Bournemouth Avenue, Euston, writes:
I am thinking of trying to learn another computer language than Basic, namely Forth. However, I know very little about it, though I am waiting for a couple of books to come through the library.
One thing I would like to know, for a start, is what Forth-79? Is it the language am designed in 1979? And is Fig Forth the same? Also, which does the Jupiter Ace use, if the two are different, and is RPN Reverse Polish Notation?

Forth was developed by Charles Moore in the late 60s, and early 70s. This lead to the setting up of the Forth Interest Group (FIG) who developed a standard version of the language. However, this was one of several, so a Forth standards team was formed - in 1980 they came up with Forth-79. There is still a lot of argument between the two, as to which is best.
The Ace uses a modified form of Forth-79 - again, there are arguments as to which is better. If you are new to Forth, and you start with the Ace, there should be no problems, until you try and use another standard. If you are used to Forth-79, you might find some of the omissions on the Ace annoying, on the other hand some of the extras can turn out to be very useful.
RPN is Reverse Polish Notation, as used in all the implications of Forth.