Overview, Philosophy & the Non Existent Warranty


Win32Forth is a public domain, ANS compatible, Forth language application development system. It was initially written by Andrew McKewan, Tom Zimmer, Robert Smith and Jim Schneider during 1994 and 1995. Win32Forth is a FAT (as in BIG) system, adhering to the philosophy that if some tools are good, many tools must be better. It includes an interactive console and an integrated extensible source level debugger. Editing of source text is facilitated by the included WinEd hypertext file editor, which allows easy exploration of the many mega-bytes of source code that makes up Win32Forth.


This file contains the bare minimum of information to get you started with Win32Forth. Forth is not inherently a complex language, but when it is integrated into a Windows environment, some complexity creeps in. I have never been known as a simplist (one who seeks simplicity), but I do believe programs should be as simple as possible as long as they are not so simple that you can't easily get your job done. Basically, when faced with Windows, you can either say: "It is too complicated, I won't use it", or you can say: "it is a complex environment, I will attempt to master it and bring some order to the complexity". Both of these statements acknowledge that Windows is a big ugly creature, but the second statement also acknowledges that there may be some value in Windows that can be extracted and used to personal advantage. This is the approach I take, mostly because "it's my job", but also because some of the things Windows does are indeed interesting. If you, like me, find something interesting in Windows, then follow along. I can't tell you there won't be any pain or pitfalls associated with this little journey, but there will be discovery, excitement and lots and LOTS of exploration.


Win32Forth (including the integrated WinEd editor) is a public domain Forth language development system. That means it is provided without support. As time and inclination permit, we will at times update Win32Forth and repair bugs that we decide to fix. However no warranty for usability, reliability, correctness or any other characteristic is provided or implied. If you choose to use Win32Forth for an application, either personal or commercial, you assume the responsibility for its usability, reliability, correctness and all other program characteristics and warranty responsibilities. Neither Thomas Zimmer nor any other contributor to Win32Forth will assume any responsibility for its use in any manner. I apologize for the need for the previous paragraph, but you do need to be warned.

Win32Forth is NOT bug free. It never will be. It is too large and complicated for me or anyone else to ever find all the bugs that can be hidden within it. As we become aware of bugs, we try to fix them, but some things are better not fixed, so beware, there are definite limits to Win32Forth's ability to crash gracefully. When we say production, we mean it works. For at least 1 person, reliably and regularly, and on a range of applications. We need more testers!

For specifically Win32Forth support please post here; you should post your Forth questions on the Forth news group comp.lang.forth (Web) There are lots of people on that news group who love to answer questions, and you are likely to get a much quicker answer. There's a comprehensive Forth FAQ for comp.lang.forth at, maintained by Anton Ertl.

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