Why Forth isn't popular... 
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 Why Forth isn't popular...

  I have been think about Forth a bit lately, and it seems that it will
never be a mainstream language due to several reasons. These are:

1) Non-standard methods of generating standalone applications. There
is no entry point that is equivalent to main() in C. There has been little
done in books like "Starting Forth" to bridge the gap between
typing short definitions at the keyboard to writing real applications.

2) Lack of variable/procedure scoping. No standard way of performing
I/O between versions. Nonexistant type checking. Non-text files (yes,
I know that this going away, but it is still quite common) for
source code. Source code for Forth is just not as readable as HLLs.
Reusability is difficult between programmers.

3) No grammar to the language. This makes Forth unfamiliar to the
current crop of Pascal/C programmers. This makes it hard to define what
Forth is, so instructors are reluctant to teach it. There is also
not an industrial demand for Forth programmers, so it is safer for
universities to teach C/Pascal.

4) FUD (Fear, Uncertainity, Doubt) in management of companies when
Forth is proposed as a solution. "Our programmers only know (C/Pascal/
fortran77) -- who will maintain this code if you leave?" "I don't know
anything about this language." "We don't have time to train our
programmers in some technology that may or may not solve our problems".
(This is an outgrowth of the problem in that many companies no longer
train employees, but instead get new employees that have the current
knowledge they need for current projects). Forth is seen as a risk
by managers that are uncertain of the abilities of their employees --
which, I would argue, is more often as not the case. It is easier to
use languages like C/Pascal that have lots of error detection within
their definition.


-- Dave Ritchie

Thu, 03 Jun 1993 05:20:33 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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