How about a 'FORTH stamp'?

I have been wondering for a while if the FORTH language would ever be used for microcontroller use. How about a FORTH stamp? I know that FORTH was a late 70's and 80's language, but I think that it would be decent for embedded use.

Just a thought.

Best,

J

Comments

  • 24 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,344
    edited March 28 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Kotobuki wrote: »
    I have been wondering for a while if the FORTH language would ever be used for microcontroller use. How about a FORTH stamp? I know that FORTH was a late 70's and 80's language, but I think that it would be decent for embedded use.

    Just a thought.

    Best,

    J
    You can make your own "Forth Stamp" by getting a PropMini and programming Tachyon into the EEPROM.

    Edit: Better yet, start with a Propeller Flip!

  • Wouldn't using the Prop be like using a sledge hammer when a tap hammer would work? Don't get me wrong, I am very interested in learning to use the Prop, and will be ordering a Prop and learning materials later this spring. I just thought that a dedicated (in silicon) 'FORTH chip' and a PIC would be simpler (and cheaper) to use for a embedded device. This is the beauty of the BS2... very small footprint board, easy to program, excellent PC software to program it in P-Basic, and decent cost.

    Best,

    J
  • Kotobuki wrote: »
    Wouldn't using the Prop be like using a sledge hammer when a tap hammer would work? Don't get me wrong, I am very interested in learning to use the Prop, and will be ordering a Prop and learning materials later this spring. I just thought that a dedicated (in silicon) 'FORTH chip' and a PIC would be simpler (and cheaper) to use for a embedded device. This is the beauty of the BS2... very small footprint board, easy to program, excellent PC software to program it in P-Basic, and decent cost.

    Best,

    J
    I believe that the Flip is cheaper than the BS2.

  • yetiyeti Posts: 409
    edited March 28 Vote Up0Vote Down
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  • There are at least 4 different versions of forth for the propeller.

    Three versions (Tachyon 3 & 4, and Propforth 5) are optimized for the propeller with many words defined for sensors, communications, actuators.

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/141061/tachyon-o-s-v3-0-juno-furiously-fast-forth-fat32-lan-vga-rs485-obex-roms-fp-lmm/p1

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/165490/tachyon-v4-dawn-exploring-new-worlds/p1

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/146693/propforth-v5-5-is-available-for-download/p1

    One version (pfth) is a standard ANS forth with some key words defined for use with the propeller. I found it useful for learning interactively some low level propeller features by interactively adjusting parameters in one core and transferring data to words running in other cores.

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/143472/pfth-an-ans-forth-interpreter-for-the-prop/p1

    All versions can make use of the multiple cores of the propeller.

    Give them a look.

    Tom


  • Cluso99 has a very neat little Propeller P8XBlade2 in DIP24 (+8+4) that is very Stamp like. You can load Tachyon onto that as it also fully supports FAT32 on an optional microSD. I've also got a small "P8" 20-pin wide DIP module that is designed to mate with my IoT500 Ethernet module but can also be used stand-alone. However Cluso's board has on-board regulators and more pins available. Both operate at 96MHz rather than the standard 80MHz. The IoT5500 +P8 combo + Tachyon allow a complete WEB/FTP server with Telnet access in an RJ45 footprint, now that's tiny.
    517 x 294 - 64K
    846 x 542 - 485K

    Tachyon Forth - compact, fast, forthwright and interactive
    useforthlogo-s.png
    --->CLICK THE LOGO for more links<---
    Latest binary V5.4 includes EASYFILE +++++ Tachyon Forth News Blog
    P2 SHORTFORM DATASHEET +++++ TAQOZ documentation
    Brisbane, Australia
  • David Betz wrote:
    I believe that the Flip is cheaper than the BS2.
    BS2: $49.00
    FLiP: $34.99 on sale now for $27.99

    No-brainer.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • David Betz wrote:
    I believe that the Flip is cheaper than the BS2.
    BS2: $49.00
    FLiP: $34.99 on sale now for $27.99

    No-brainer.

    -Phil

    Yes, the FLiP is less expensive.

    I also know that development cost is a major factor in bringing a new product to market. But I also know that the value added with the BS2 includes huge support and excellent educational materials that make (or in my case, made) learning the BS2 very easy with a quick learning curve. I very well could be wrong, but I suspect that the prop is much more challenging to learn how to use compared to the BS2.

    I would just love to see a dedicated (from Parallax) FORTH stamp, along with a manual like the What is a Microcontroller and an associated BOE for it. Combine that with an excellent IDE like the BS2 has, and I believe that you would have a winner. Kids are far more interested in learning programming when they can control real world devices (even if it just blinking an LED) and build circuits that actually do things than if all they do is compile and run a program that generates results on a computer screen. I think that a lot of folks would become interested and then proficient in an older language that still has lots of potential. I sure would use it :=)

    Best,

    J
  • You're not likely to see a supported Forth product from Parallax anytime soon, if ever. The costs in time and support would be enormous for a return on investment that would be pretty minimal. But loading Tachyon on a FLiP module will give you a huge head start on a programming adventure you're not likely ever to regret.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • I think that the Propeller is very easy to learn to use. Parallax has a variety of educational aids and tutorials. Besides if you are going to use forth, then forth is what you would need to learn. Each of the forth threads I linked above explain how to load forth onto the propeller, and by saving it to the EEPROM on the boards, it will reload itself each time the prop is powered or reset. (If you decide to load something other than forth, the IDEs let you do that.)

    As far as Parallax making a forth (only) microcontroller, forth is just not that popular and is certainly not a language that educators would be lining up for.
    Tom
  • Peter JakackiPeter Jakacki Posts: 7,584
    edited March 29 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Kotobuki wrote: »
    I also know that development cost is a major factor in bringing a new product to market. But I also know that the value added with the BS2 includes huge support and excellent educational materials that make (or in my case, made) learning the BS2 very easy with a quick learning curve. I very well could be wrong, but I suspect that the prop is much more challenging to learn how to use compared to the BS2.

    Nobody really studies PIC architecture to use the BS2, they learn how to use the combined module+language. This is the same with the Prop, and Tachyon is custom made for the Prop and looks after practically all the hardware. You can configure a pin as a serial port, counter function, high-speed SPI, 32-channel PWM, or just plain I/O etc. I can't really think where you would need to know about the Prop itself and you don't ever have to resort to PASM of any kind except maybe for some exotic chip but even then, Tachyon is that fast that many times a simple one-liner becomes "the driver".
    I would just love to see a dedicated (from Parallax) FORTH stamp, along with a manual like the What is a Microcontroller and an associated BOE for it. Combine that with an excellent IDE like the BS2 has, and I believe that you would have a winner. Kids are far more interested in learning programming when they can control real world devices (even if it just blinking an LED) and build circuits that actually do things than if all they do is compile and run a program that generates results on a computer screen. I think that a lot of folks would become interested and then proficient in an older language that still has lots of potential. I sure would use it :=)

    A BOE style board is simple, Parallax make them and with Tachyon loaded you can start exercising that BOE with a high degree of usability immediately. A "what is a Microcontroller" has been covered by many people, many times. However the BS2 needed an IDE because the compiler and programmer was PC resident , but there is no such need with Tachyon since it is fully resident on the chip itself. That includes all the compiler and runtime "libraries", the "OBEX" images in upper EEPROM, the debugger and programmer. All I use on the PC or tablet is an editor and a serial terminal. What advantage would an IDE offer? Editors and terminals run on any platform or O/S. IDEs however are far more limited. Built-in ready to go is extensive software for Serial, SPI, PWM, Ping sensors, DHT humidity sensors, Inter-Prop networking, Floating point, character LCD, keypads, VGA, 1-Wire, Serial RGB LEDs etc etc.

    Have you played with Tachyon yet? You can even type in one-liner loops without first having to define them. Even though you could type 5 BLINK and immediately have an LED blinking on P5, you could do it the "long" way and type "BEGIN 5 HIGH 100 ms 5 LOW 100 ms AGAIN" to get that LED blinking but there are many ways to do this anyway.

    Tachyon V5 "NEON" even has a HELP function which will disassemble the word but will also print a short stack use note. If you have an SD or microSD you can even have the more verbose help files loaded on there.




    Tachyon Forth - compact, fast, forthwright and interactive
    useforthlogo-s.png
    --->CLICK THE LOGO for more links<---
    Latest binary V5.4 includes EASYFILE +++++ Tachyon Forth News Blog
    P2 SHORTFORM DATASHEET +++++ TAQOZ documentation
    Brisbane, Australia
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,778
    Kotobuki wrote: »
    I have been wondering for a while if the FORTH language would ever be used for microcontroller use.

    Zilog used to offer Forth ROM MCUs, but I think they may have faded.
    Seems you could roll your own, using legacy forths and the newer FLASH Zilog parts ?
    Some legacy forths here : http://www.camelforth.com/news.php


    The Prop seems to have more active forth choices, and modules that can support them.

  • Hi All,

    Thank you for all of your thoughts on this. I have looked at the links that Yeti has posted and they are very interesting. I have not used the Prop or any of its associated materials yet, but look forward to obtaining one and starting to learn it later this spring. (My toy budget is limited...) I have nothing against the propeller and know that it is very powerful and has many uses. In fact there is a group of people that make available new designed S=100 boards and one of them (front panel with switches and lights) uses the Propeller to eliminate many individual chips that would otherwise be needed.

    If the prop is the way to go for this, then I will use it. I used to program in FORTH many year ago in the eighties, and have been getting nostalgic lately to do so again, only now, I want to use it to actually do things like with a microcontroller rather than just use it on a PC.

    Thank you again!

    Best,

    J
  • Kotobuki wrote: »
    I have been wondering for a while if the FORTH language would ever be used for microcontroller use. How about a FORTH stamp? I know that FORTH was a late 70's and 80's language, but I think that it would be decent for embedded use.

    just for reference: http://www.ultratechnology.com/chips.htm
    I remember wanting to get my hands on a F21 from Chuck Moore
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I am only an egg -- Stranger in a Strange land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • Kotobuki,
    Wouldn't using the Prop be like using a sledge hammer when a tap hammer would work?
    It kind of feels like to it to us old timers at first sight.

    Hammers are not a good analogy though. What we are talking about is transistors. Transistors have been getting smaller, faster, cheaper exponentially since they were invented. Hammers have not.

    Sure an 8 core 32 bit processor with 32K RAM might seem like overkill but given the huge number of transistors we can make use of today, why not do that? Unless you are really requiring super low power consumption or some such there is no reason not to use them.

    The Propeller is amazingly easy to use. The Spin language takes no time to get the hang of and the assembly language is one of the simplest, nicest to use I have ever seen. Being all 32 bit there is no fiddly byte by byte arithmetic to be doing.

    You should definitely check out the Propeller.

    Forth gives me headache.



  • twm47099 wrote: »
    I think that the Propeller is very easy to learn to use. Parallax has a variety of educational aids and tutorials. Besides if you are going to use forth, then forth is what you would need to learn. Each of the forth threads I linked above explain how to load forth onto the propeller, and by saving it to the EEPROM on the boards, it will reload itself each time the prop is powered or reset. (If you decide to load something other than forth, the IDEs let you do that.)


    Tom

    I'm sold :-)

    I have to say that I am a complete noob with the propeller. The only things I know about it is that it is multi core and that Parallax makes it. That means that it has to be good, as I have never had nor heard a complaint about anything that Parallax has made. (As opposed to say the Parallella, which is all but dead even though it has huge potential.)

    I have one question: Can I use the Mini Prop to load FORTH into rather than the larger FLiP? I have used FORTH many years ago, so I am quite rusty. This exercise is just for my own fun and pleasure.

    One last question: Is there a Parallax publication (in print) that is like the 'What is a Microcontroller' booK? Hopefully with spiral binding so that it lays flat as I am learning the language. Of all of the many books that I have on programming and using microcontrollers, the most used and worn are the Parallax books! :-)

    Thank you all again!

    Best,

    J
  • Kotobuki wrote:
    Hopefully with spiral binding so that it lays flat as I am learning the language.
    Many years ago when Parallax switched from spiral- to perfect-bound books, I anticipated the same problem with lying flat. My fears were for naught, though, as the perfect-bound books will stay open to the selected page. An added advantage is that you can store them on a shelf and be able to read the spine.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Hi Phil,

    Thank you for the info.

    I meant to ask if there are any specific books devoted to learning the Propeller like there is for the Stamps. Not trying to butter anyone up, but the What is a Microcontroller book in my opinion is one of the best on the subject ever. My grand son started using that at age twelve, and is actually more proficient than I with the BS2.

    Thank you again,

    Best,

    J
  • I built a few systems about twenty years ago that used TDS embedded Forth boards. Apparently production ceased in 2008, but spares and repairs are still available. https://www.triangledigital.org.uk/index.htm

  • rosco_pc wrote: »
    just for reference: http://www.ultratechnology.com/chips.htm
    I remember wanting to get my hands on a F21 from Chuck Moore

    From time-to-time I've been consumed by desire for this-or-that FORTH chip. In pretty much every case, I was either a little too late to the party and the chips were gone, or else the admission fee was too high.

    But all good things come to those who wait. Between FISH FORTH, Mecrisp, and Tachyon, it is my opinion that embedded FORTH has never been cheaper, easier, or more available.

  • Kotobuki wrote: »
    I meant to ask if there are any specific books devoted to learning the Propeller like there is for the Stamps.

    In the Propeller Tool, under Help, click on Propeller Education Kit PDF. Between that and the Propeller Manual, also available there, you will have tons to get rolling. For more details, I just posted similar "getting started with SPIN" comments on this thread: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/168310/anybody-know-a-good-way-to-learn-spin#latest


  • Kotobuki wrote: »
    Hi Phil,

    Thank you for the info.

    I meant to ask if there are any specific books devoted to learning the Propeller like there is for the Stamps. Not trying to butter anyone up, but the What is a Microcontroller book in my opinion is one of the best on the subject ever. My grand son started using that at age twelve, and is actually more proficient than I with the BS2.

    Thank you again,

    Best,

    J

    Well Parallax has a "What's a Microcontroller" for the Propeller also, not just for the Stamp....

    Mike
    I am just another Code Monkey.
    A determined coder can write COBOL programs in any language. -- Author unknown.
    Press any key to continue, any other key to quit

    The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this post are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,227
    I have some C Stamps from about 8-9 years ago. That is all.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/06/prweb2512914.htm
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote: »
    I have some C Stamps from about 8-9 years ago. That is all.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/06/prweb2512914.htm

    And the site it references is now a scam (or a fraud) in a language that even Google Translate does not like.

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