Digest #136 2021-03-13


[181] 2021-03-10 14:50:29 PaulHorth wrote:

requestClarification - Is a counted string limited to 255 chars?

From the description "u is the contents of the character at c-addr1" it seems to imply that the length is the size of one character and hence limited to 255. If a FORTH implementation had a cell before the characters of the string and hence a theoretical string size of max-int, would that still be a standard system?


[r609] 2021-03-07 05:18:27 MitraArdron replies:

requestClarification - Cell width for numbers

I think the systems being referred to are those based on Ting's eForth - these were the only two conflicts I found, where the same name was used with different behavior. <# # #S #> on eForth use single precision numbers, and CHARS outputs a char a multiple number of times. When I was converting webforth over from eForth to Forth2012 both of those conflicts bit me as well.

[r610] 2021-03-07 08:31:05 AntonErtl replies:

requestClarification - Cell width for numbers

Someone (and it seems that you, MitraArdron feel the itch) could add comments to # and CHARS that warn eforth users that eforth uses non-standard meanings for the respective word.

[r611] 2021-03-07 11:03:41 AntonErtl replies:

requestClarification - Can `BLOCK` transfer from mass storage in the case when block u is already in a block buffer?

Concerning the question in the title, IMO BLOCK must not do that.

Concerning your example: If we assume that nothing between the second call to BUFFER and the call to BLOCK invalidates the buffer, it should produce "MASS STORAGE NOT READ".

However, 7.3.2 contains some caveats about buffer invalidation, including at REFILL and parsing. Given that there is parsing and refilling happening from the text interpreter between these calls, the buffer may be invalidated, and BLOCK may read the block from mass storage, resulting in "MASS STORAGE READ".

Actually, there is parsing between the first call to BUFFER and the UPDATE, so there is no guarantee that "MASS STORAGE READ" reaches mass storage.

The way to deal with that is to UPDATE inside PREPARE_BUFFER.

AFAIK these provisions are there for cooperative multi-tasking systems that may task-switch on REFILL (and apparently also on parsing), and where a different task might require a buffer, which might invalidate an existing buffer.

[r612] 2021-03-08 21:21:49 JimPeterson replies:

comment - Proposal: end-case

I'm simultaneously intrigued and disappointed. My system is far too resource constrained (like, 1980's-style computing constrained) to properly implement those optimizations, and I was tickled that Forth actually could do code like [ A 5 CELLS + ] LITERAL, leveraging the full power of Forth during the process of defining a word, almost like template meta-programming in C++ only less obtuse. I'll have to stick with 0ENDCASE for my system, though I might look into examining the previous instruction when encoding a DROP.

[r613] 2021-03-09 16:02:58 ruv replies:

comment - Proposal: end-case

I'll have to stick with 0ENDCASE for my system

Perhaps, ESAC is a better name. It's shorter, it's used in some other languages as pair to CASE, and it was already used exactly in this meaning in Forth publications.

Wil Baden, Forth Dimensions XVII.5, 1996 (p.15)

Instead of CASE ... OF ... ENDOF ... 0 ENDCASE Stretching Forth prefers CASE ... OF ... ELSE ... ESAC.

Wil Baden, Forth Dimensions, XVII.3, 1995 (p. 40)


[r614] 2021-03-09 19:11:06 ruv replies:

example - Needs an example of replacing COMPILE

the implementer of POSTPONE (me in this case) has to write a definition that checks if THEN or branch are immediate and behave differently for the two cases.

If you implement immediacy via the corresponding flag then yes, you have to check it. Perhaps not in the definition of POSTPONE directly, but in some place it should be checked. And that was the initial point — to move the problem of choosing between COMPILE and [COMPILE] from the programmers to the system. This solution has some edge cases, but they are very rare in practice.

: foo .... ENDIF .... AGAIN ; 

The first POSTPONE causes THEN to be compiled into ENDIF, while the second causes branch to be compiled into foo

I can suggest another point of view. In Forth we can (with some obvious reservations) replace the use of a word by its definition. If a word is immediate then its definition is placed in square brackets when it's used in compilation state (with reservation concerning control flow and setting compilation state).

Let's assume that the interpretation semantics of POSTPONE is to take the word in the argument and perform its compilation semantics.

Then your definition of foo

: foo .... ENDIF .... AGAIN ; 

is equivalent to

: foo .... [ POSTPONE THEN ] ....  [ POSTPONE branch <RESOLVE ] ; 

That's equivalent to

: foo .... THEN ....  branch  [ <RESOLVE ] ; 

<small>(since performing compilation semantics is what the Forth text interpreter does when it encounter a word in compilation state)

It looks like the both words are just syntactically placed into foo. And what is compiled into foo depends on these words.

So we can think about it as if the argument of POSTPONE (or better say, its uniquely named synonym) is always syntactically placed instead of the containing word (e.g., into the definition of the target word), and is encountered by the Forth text interpreter. And what is compiled depends on this word. If it's a regular word then it's compiled as is, if it's an immediate word then it's executed and it can compile some other words.

[r615] 2021-03-12 07:48:49 AntonErtl replies:

requestClarification - Is a counted string limited to 255 chars?

Yes, in a standard program a counted string can be at most 255 chars long. On a system with a larger char size (e.g., on a word-addressed machine) the count (and therefore counted strings) can be larger, but a standard program cannot rely on that.

A Forth system with a COUNT equivalent to the following

: count dup cell+ swap @ ;

would be non-standard unless 1 cells gives 1 on this system.

I recommend using the c-addr u representation (where only the addressable and available memory limits string length) instead of counted strings. I don't use counted strings.

[r616] 2021-03-12 16:32:58 PaulHorth replies:

requestClarification - Is a counted string limited to 255 chars?

So just to confirm my understanding, there is nothing non-standard if using, say, PARSE and having c-addr u with u > 255 ?