Starting FORTH

«previous next»


Starting Forth tutorial book

Code examples run on iForth and SwiftForth.*

* Download the
free trial system.

About the online edition

0. Introductions (1st edition)

1. Fundamental Forth

2. How to Get Results

3. The Editor (and Staff)

4. Decisions, Decisions…

5. The Philosophy of Fixed Point

6. Throw It For a Loop

7. A Number of Kinds of Numbers

8. Variables, Constants, and Arrays

9. Under the Hood

10. I/O and You

11. Extending the Compiler

12. Three Examples

Starting FORTH by Leo Brodie

Starting Forth, the classic Forth language tutorial, is available here in its official online edition. Updates to the original Starting FORTH text include code examples that run on iForth and SwiftForth systems. Aficionados (and detractors) of the original book's illustrations will find most of them restored in this official edition by FORTH, Inc.

"…I hope this book is not so easy and enjoyable that it seems trivial. Be warned that there is heavy content here and that you can learn much about computers and compilers as well as about programming."

"A Forth to be reckoned with..."

About the book

Starting FORTH has been the classic Forth tutorial and textbook since its first release. Many experienced programmers have commented on its concise utility and completeness. Beginners will find a carefully planned introduction to the Forth programming language that will prepare them for other books like Forth Application Techniques and Forth Programmer's Handbook.

FORTH, Inc. and the book's author, Leo Brodie, thank the global community for its continued enthusiasm for this book. Many have sought a new copy, a used copy, or have asked for a reprinting. It is our pleasure to now present this online edition, with great appreciation for work done by Marcel Hendrix to generate a web version on which these pages were based.

Notes about this online edition

Changes made by FORTH, Inc. to Marcel's version were primarily related to internet coding standards and visual presentation. We also restored the book's original illustrations here, in most cases. The following notes are also relevant and important to those familiar with the original edition.

Notes by Marcel Hendrix

This transcript is not an exact reproduction. Forth code has been ANSified. All code should run on, at least iForth. Where necessary, statements that were valid in 1981 have been exchanged with statements more appropriate for 2003 (when this tribute was written)….

I have assumed a 32-bit, byte-addressing Forth with 8-bit characters. The address returned by WORD is assumed to be HERE. This allows the common trick of ALLOTing length of str CHARS after using WORD in order to compile string str to memory. Multitasking issues are ignored (e.g. no >TYPE, just TYPE). Division is symmetric, not floored, and two's complement is assumed throughout. iForth works splendidly with it, but other Forths will work too. Chapter 7 exploits extended uses of number conversion. Most Forths are broken in this respect, but iForth and SwiftForth support these neat features.

Other Forth Books and Classes

As noted above, once you have progressed from the beginning stages and look for more-practical and detailed information, several resources are available. The Forth books Forth Application Techniques and Forth Programmer's Handbook are a good next step. In addition, Forth classes and training are available at our offices or, by arrangement, at your facility.

Thank you again for your interest in this fascinating and powerful programming language and in Starting Forth.

«previous next»