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6 Reviews
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book on a low visible, but much used technology, March 19, 1999
By A Customer
Are you interested in how the Java virtual machine works? Interested in efficient Java chips? Are you interested in the boot-up software for the latest machines from Sun, DEC and FreeBSD Unix? If so, then you SHOULD be interested in Forth.
Forth is the world's premier stack-based language. Some people seem to think of Forth as "aged technology". But Forth's strength is in the ability to continually re-create itself. For example, "object oriented" features can be added to a Forth compiler without having to re-write the compiler itself. Java has sparked renewed interest in Forth technology because of its VM. If you read the Java VM manual it reads like a Forth text. For this reason chips designed to run Forth also turn out the be the fast "Java chips". Also the recent "plug and play" solution for Sun hardware is written in Forth. So if you want to write device drivers for Sun workstations you need to know Forth.
Ok, enough about the language, now about the book. The "Forth Programmer's Handbook" is probably the best book on Forth since the classic "Starting Forth" by Leo Brodie. This book differs from "Starting Forth" in quite a few ways though. Starting Forth was written with a strong emphasis on "easing the novice programmer" into programming using Forth as a model. The "Forth Programmer's Handbook" lacks the 'cute graphics' of Starting Forth. It also starts out with an in depth discussion of the Forth VM. (Starting Forth puts this off until several chapters later.) Also this new book has updated language features in it, such as a description of exception handling and of dynamic memory management. Also there is a good discussion on using assembler from Forth. While this is definitely not new, it's more in depth than the example in Starting Forth.
If there is anything "missing" in this book it's some more concrete examples. There is a short "embedded washing machine controller" example which seems to be an elaboration of an example from "Starting Forth". But there is nothing in there as in depth as Starting Forth's "3 1/2 examples". (Which consisted of a language generator, a flat-file database, a simple calculator, and a partial implementation of an assembler.) The Forth Programmer's handbook did allude to the IEEE OpenFirmware standard in its "Programming Style" section, but I was hoping for perhaps a device driver written for OpenFirmware? Forth Inc, the publisher of this book, has been involved in some interesting projects including a robot arm for NASA. I know that some of that code is probably covered by "non-discloser agreements" but some discussion of how Forth helped solve those problems would be nice. Also there was no discussion of object-oriented techniques in Forth. This is understandable because there are various OOForth implementations out there. Still a discussion on OO and Forth would be welcome.
Overall its a very good book on a very underated technology.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book reference book, September 29, 1999
By A Customer
This book is a great second book on FORTH. If you have never used FORTH or a FORTH derived language before i recommend that you go and read Leo Brodie's "Starting FORTH". Whilst this book makes a great and very handy reference, most of the explanations are very brief and would serve as more of a refresher than an in-depth explanation for the newbie.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great advanced Forth book., March 22, 1999
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Jerry P. (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This book provides a good in-depth coverage of Forth (particularly for users of Forth, Inc. versions of Forth) and is a great follow up to "Starting Forth". It would be hard to find anyone with a closer association with Forth than the authors of the "Forth Programmer's Handbook" since they were the world's second and third Forth programmers, after it was invented by their friend Chuck Moore. Forth, Inc. has done a lot to keep Forth as one of the best computer languages, especially for embedded applications, and this book does a good job of showing why it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forth, June 16, 2014
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This review is from: Forth Programmer's Handbook (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
Perfect reading, well written and informative for all types of programmers.
From begiining to advanced topics, its all here. Get it !
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5.0 out of 5 stars An old favorite, July 7, 2012
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This review is from: Forth Programmer's Handbook (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
Great book from a really good supplier. This was for a replacement of old book that was falling apart. I love this little language, especially as an embedded control language to handle complex logic during application logical fault processing
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Use Forth Interest Group standard Forth, January 11, 2011
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This review is from: Forth Programmer's Handbook (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
Book appears to be excellent in content in view of author of Embedded Controller Forth for the 8051 Family [google].

Conklin and Rather chose to use non-Forth Interest Group standard Forth in some examples. This may force some readers to purchase a Forth.

Forth Interest Group standard Forth is available free on the web.

Link to web lecture series on FIG standard Forth for the PC and 8051 family can be found by googling 'scripting languages pollute'. Free downloads available.

Taxpayer funded! :-)
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Forth Programmer's Handbook (3rd Edition)
Forth Programmer's Handbook (3rd Edition) by Edward K. Conklin (Paperback - September 8, 2007)
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