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How chipFORTH works


Until now, high level languages have not been a serious consideration for the restricted target environment of 'single chip' processor such as the 68HC11. However, a new technique called chipFORTH has been pioneered by Computer Solutions which opens up even this preserve of Assembler programming to the advantages of fast, interactive software development.

The heart of the development system is a standard PC hosting a program which communicates through a serial line with a few hundred bytes of code on the target chip - this 'Link code' need not be part of the final program. Once installed on the target chip, high level FORTH programs can be loaded from the PC's disk into the chip or compiled directly at the keyboard. Schematic chipFORTH development environment

The Link's role is not just confined to compiling - a programmer can also use it to test these programs interactively and full symbolic debugging is available with interactive execution of any of the Forth words on target system. If a new program is the required to test a hypothesis then chipFORTH's incremental compiler can be used to create a test program of any desired level of complexity.

Schematic testing a chipFORTH program If the application's serial protocol is complex then programs can be written on the PC to fully exercise it. Once a program has been tested and debugged, the Link code can be removed from the application software leaving the final program, including multi-tasking if required, ready to be copied into ROM. There is no additional licence fee for programs produced in this way.

chipFORTH is a derivative of polyFORTH - the premier professional version of the FORTH language produced for a wide range of mini and microprocessors by FORTH Inc., the inventors of the language. ChipFORTH conforms to polyFORTH's high technical standards including 900 pages of documentation.

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