Why you might want to learn FORTH

You may or may have not heard about the programming language Forth, but if you have heard about it, you are very likely to have heard about it from some very happy, passionate Forth developers!

The best advocacy/introduction/tutorial I’ve ever read about Forth is located in the beginning of source code for this Forth interpreter!

After reading this, it is hard not to get excited about the programming language Forth.

Edwin: The Movie

MIT Scheme is a fine Scheme distribution. Their editor, Edwin, however, has always been sort of a mystery to me. I can’t find anyone that uses it, documentation that “speaks to me”, or even a user guide on how to get the most out of it. Aaron Hsu, psychically detecting another Schemer in need, recorded an introduction to Edwin that provides a nice peek into some of its features.

Unlock Forth on the OLPC XO

A week or so ago I ended up on “Luke’s Weblog” reading an article about Forth on the OLPC XO.

The OLCP Wiki has got Forth Lessons for everyone to enjoy. Forth is a pretty neat language!

You may have noticed that although access to the Forth shell is explained on this page, it doesn’t work. The reason can be two-fold. First, you can only access the Forth shell if the firmware security is disabled. Second, on newer machines you access the Forth shell by hitting the escape key at boot time.

This page explains how to gain access to the Forth shell on machines that have got the firmware security enabled (G1G1 owners, that means you). You need a developer key to unlock your firmware, the request takes less than 24 hours to be fulfilled. Please read the page closely (disable-security twice!) and heed their advice of disabling firmware security (you can always enable it later).

What is “real code”?

One common complaint about non-mainstream programming languages is that there hasn’t been any “real code” written in that particular language. One response to this is the Practical Common Lisp book.

Whether or not a MP3 database or a spam filter is “real code” is up for debate. Nonetheless, based on the success of the book, people clearly want to see “real code”.

In your mind, what is “real code”? What is it that you need to see in order to believe that a language can do “real work”?