FORTH, PASCAL, and C--- which one would you choose

Duane Morse duane at anasazi.UUCP
Wed Jan 1 02:14:12 AEST 1986

> I wonder why Forth is still less popular (to my impression) than C and Pascal.
> Is it because :
> --its somewhat 'awkward' syntax ? (Pascal is closer to human language)
> --its lack of predefined data structure ?
> --its putting great responsibilty on the programmer? (the kernel is so compact
>  and simple that you must first extend the system and create many things which
>   in C and Pascal are taken care of by the compiler-writer.)
> Note: I am not a dedicated C, Pascal or Forth programmer.
> HP Wei   (wei at princeton)

A few years ago, Forth was popular at the company where I work. The programmers
who wrote Forth programs (myself included) liked the language, but the
company eventually stopped selling Forth-based systems for two basic
reasons: (1) it was next to impossible to find Forth programmers, so the
company would have to spend considerable time training programmers in the
language (and the company really didn't want to spend the time to do this);
(2) when we did half-heartedly try to train people, we found that we had more
trouble teaching Forth than any other language -- we plain had to give up
on some people! Further, customers didn't have Forth programmers on staff,
so they had even greater trouble taking over our software (we sold the source
and they maintained and enhanced their systems).

Recently our company has jumped on the Unix/C bandwagon, and "portability"
is the current watchword. Though I believe that Forth isn't as portable as
C can be, it's interesting to note that we dropped Forth long before anyone
here started programming in C, and no one cared about portability at the time.

Duane Morse	...!noao!terak|anasazi!duane  or  ...!noao!mot!anasazi!duane
(602) 870-3330

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