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BoardForth

BoardForth is an experimental Forth-based circuit board design tool. It integrates pForth with SDL2 to provide graphics display capabilities in a portable and lightweight Forth environment.

Design

SDL and Forth don't naturally fit together. SDL is a C library through and through, and doesn't conform exactly to Forth calling conventions. To integrate the two, BoardForth embeds the pForth interpreter within an SDL application. SDL runs on the main thread, controlling a rendering stack used to display a system window. A sub-thread executes pForth. The two threads share a common pixel buffer, whose access is managed using an SDL mutex lock. These structures are exposed by C functions linked into the Forth dictionary, allowing the two programs to communicate.

The main thread is responsible for monitoring the SDL event loop and exiting if the app is quit, as well as waiting for a semaphore to be set by the Forth code and triggering a re-render of the pixel buffer to the display. If the Forth interpreter exits it sets another semaphore indicating to the main loop that it should exit.

Drawing primitives are provided as Forth words, implemented using pixel-level operations. This allows easy iteration and does not require a separate compilation step.

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A circuit board development environment driven by Forth.

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