PForth - a Portable ANS-like Forth written in ANSI 'C'
by Phil Burk with Larry Polansky, David Rosenboom and Darren Gibbs. Support for 64-bit cells by Aleksej Saushev.
Last updated: November 27, 2022
Portable Forth written in 'C' for most 32 and 64-bit platforms.
PForth is written in 'C' and can be easily ported to new 32 and 64-bit platforms. It only needs character input and output functions to operate and, therefore, does not require an operating system. This makes it handy for bringing up and testing embedded systems.
PForth also works on desktops including Windows, Mac and Linux and supports command line history. This lets you develop hardware tests on a desktop before trying them on your embedded system. But pForth is not a rich and friendly desktop programming environment. There are no GUI tools for developing desktop applications. PForth is lean and mean and optimized for portability.
PForth has a tool for compiling code on a desktop, then exporting the dictionary in big or little endian format as 'C' source code. This lets you compile tests for an embedded system that does not have file I/O.
PForth is based on ANSI-Forth but is not 100% compatible.
Code for pForth is maintained on GitHub at: https://github.com/philburk/pforth
Documentation for pForth at: http://www.softsynth.com/pforth/
To report bugs or request features please file a GitHub Issue.
For questions or general discussion please use the pForth forum at: http://groups.google.com/group/pforthdev
Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE AUTHOR DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THIS SOFTWARE INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.
Contents of SDK
platforms - tools for building pForth on various platforms platforms/unix - Makefile for unix csrc - pForth kernel in ANSI 'C' csrc/pf_main.c - main() application for a standalone Forth csrc/stdio - I/O code using basic stdio for generic platforms csrc/posix - I/O code for Posix platform csrc/win32 - I/O code for basic WIN32 platform csrc/win32_console - I/O code for WIN32 console that supports command line history fth - Forth code fth/util - utility functions
How to Build pForth
Building pForth involves two steps:
- building the C based Forth kernel
- building the Forth dictionary file using: ./pforth -i system.fth
- optional build of standalone executable with built-in dictionary
We have provided build scripts to simplify this process.
On Unix and MacOS using Makefile:
cd platforms/unix make all ./pforth_standalone
For more details, see the Wiki
cmake . make cd fth ./pforth_standalone
For embedded systems, see the pForth reference manual at:
How to Run pForth
To run the all-in-one pForth enter:
OR, to run using the dictionary file, enter:
Quick check of Forth:
3 4 + . words bye
To compile source code files use:
To create a custom dictionary enter in pForth:
c" newfilename.dic" SAVE-FORTH
The name must end in ".dic".
To run PForth with the new dictionary enter in the shell:
To run PForth and automatically include a forth file: pforth myprogram.fth
How to Test pForth
PForth comes with a small test suite. To test the Core words, you can use the coretest developed by John Hayes.
On Unix and MacOS using Makefile:
cd platforms/unix make test
cmake . make cd fth ./pforth include tester.fth include coretest.fth
To run the other tests, enter:
pforth t_corex.fth pforth t_strings.fth pforth t_locals.fth pforth t_alloc.fth
They will report the number of tests that pass or fail.
You can also test pForth kernel without loading a dictionary using option "-i". Only the primitive words defined in C will be available. This might be necessary if the dictionary can't be built.
./pforth -i 3 4 + . 23 77 swap .s loadsys