a few thoughts on the future
David Goehrig <dave <at> nexttolast.com>
2009-05-01 16:30:42 GMT
After re-reading all of Jeff Fox's excellent site this week, it struck
me that his email exchange with Sean Pringle about the Flux and Aha
editors strikes at the heart of the issue in using "modern" forths for
productive work. Let me qualify "modern" as all those forths that
have adopted Chuck's VM new style, with memory access registers, short
stacks, and macro support. The key issue for using these new forths
is the editor. Probably the greatest contribution colorforth has made
to the world of forth is it challenges our preconceptions of what an
editor can and should be.
Recently my server crashed, dead harddrive, and I took a page from
Brad Nelson's Rainbow Forth and ported my NewScript environment to
Google Apps. To my knowledge, this is the 3rd "modern" forth that
runs in a web-browser, after Charles Childers's Retro Forth, and
Brad's Rainbow. What we are seeing is that the easiest way to
distribute Forth can be a webbrowser. Chuck in 1993, in his 1x Forth
talk, mentioned that he thought that the application du jour was a
webbrowser, and it seems that the application du jour is now Forth in
a web browser.
What these forths all have in common is that they are attempting to be
accessible. Charles' Retro Forth was brilliant in that the same VM
could run on a wide variety of programs, and that the code that worked
in the minimalistic webbrowser version, could also run as native code.
Brad's Rainbow Forth in its Google Apps incarnation allows for
multiple programmers to collaborate in a shared space, using an
interface very similar to Chuck's beautiful colorforth interface.
What struck me about all of these interfaces though, is that they're
still basically stuck in 1968, when a Teletype Corporation ASR 33