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          Emerging Superiority of Free Open Code Communities
        Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:25:20 -0500
        From: Bob Armstrong 
        Organization: Coherent Systems
        To: Jeff Kelm 
        Subject: Re: Win32Forth versus VFX
        Jeff ,
        Thanks for your thorough response .
        Yesterday , I really dove into Win32Forth and am quite impressed .
        I think at this point in time the interface and support community
        are actually more polished and stronger than MPE's VFX . The
        hypertext documentation works better in W32F . Certainly VFX has
        nothing like the form editor W32F has and I've been batting my
        head against getting simple windows functions to work for the  last
        few weeks .
        I care next to nothing about any of the object systems because
        the essence of what I am constructing is an all allocated tree
        structure ala . Among the difficulties with Pelc's
        windowing is that he's too enamored with a Backus-Naur parser
        he made that he uses for all his window procs . I eventually
        found a windowing vocabulary in his user submitted examples
        that looks much more direct and coherent and says it was
        specifically motivated to avoid the Backus stuff .
        By contrast W32F starts with a "Hello World" in a pop up window
        as its very first example .
        In any case , to get up and running , I am converting the 100
        words or so I've created so far to implement my core 1tree
        structure to Win32forth - which isn't too hard because it's all
        very fundamental Forth .  Already I've experienced much greater
        support than available from MPE . I think open-code development
        communities are really coming of age and starting to beat the
        meat of commercial vendors of basic utilities .  I have now gone
        to Mozilla browser and email programs and , until getting into
        W32F , jEdit , which is an incredibly featured editor , all
        open-code . I've also found DogWaffle a powerful graphics editor
        and the US Patent office steered me ( and everyone ) to IrfanView
        for graphics file conversion . Only CuteFTP has survived my move
        to a new machine a couple of months ago - and it is on the cusp .
        In any case , I think I am going to eat the ( half-price )
        investment I made getting the license to al the GUI code of VFX
        and get up and running in W32F . Perhaps in the future the speed
        of optimized VFX or the availability of Linux server capability
        may lead me to make use of that license , but it may well be
        like the ascendence of CMOS over faster TTL , ECL , etc teks
        because greater scalability due to low power dominated everything
        else , eventually leading to higher speeds , I  may never to
        return to the previous tek .
        Damn , I think I've gone off the deep end . Better stop here .
        Thanks again for your analysis .
        Jeff Kelm wrote:
        > Win32Forth is free, VFX has a free evaluation version, but
        > would cost money to get the version that you could use to
        > generate stand-alone applications.
        > VFX is a commercial programming environment with the support,
        > documentation, and development environment that can come with
        > that.  Win32Forth is a free-ware program.  Developed and
        > distributed by people with good hearts (and I am indebted to
        > them more than I can say), but with other jobs that pay the
        > bills.  Documentation is sparse.  Support is available from
        > the community of Win32Forth programmers, but we also have
        > bills to pay.
        >>From some brief benchmarking I've done, VFX is considerably
        > faster than Win32Forth.  It is not only implemented more
        > efficiently, but has a very powerful optimizer that generates
        > very efficient code.  Depending on what you are expecting to
        > do with this, that could make a big difference.
        > Both interface with the Windows API.  I believe that
        > Win32Forth has a larger existing interface to that API
        > out-of-the-box.  However, VFX also has an object-oriented
        > module which could provide the same functionality.  Some of
        > Win32Forth's API interface is a bit dated (it was developed in
        > Win95/98 days and has not been fully updated to use the latest
        > API features).  If I needed to generate a polished Windows
        > application for commercial use, I would probably use VFX.  It
        > would probably require a lot more up-front work to get the
        > interface coded, however, it would be an interface that people
        > would recognize as "Windows".  This could also be done in
        > Win32Forth, however, I find it easier to recode things from
        > scratch than to dig through hundreds of lines of somebody
        > else's code to make significant changes.  That said, I haven't
        > used VFX much and haven't used either of its object-oriented
        > programming modules.  There may be more stuff already built in
        > than I am aware of.  This point rests on how much of your
        > programming time will be interfacing to the GUI and how much
        > will be doing real work.
        > If you plan on using object-oriented programming in your
        > development work, then you should realize that one of the OO
        > models for VFX is not compatible with Win32Forth.  Using the
        > "Neon" model in VFX would allow you to generate code that
        > could be ported to Win32Forth (and vice-versa) with a small
        > amount of work.
        > VFX claims to be able to easily interface with C programming
        > projects.  I don't know about this personally.  Win32Forth can
        > program using Windows DLLs (written in C or anything else).
        > If your working with C a lot or need to interface to
        > programmers who are using C, that may make a difference.
        > Another option is SwiftForth by Forth, Inc.  It is not as fast
        > as VFX, but faster than Win32Forth.  It also integrates well
        > with Windows and I like the OO model (however, it isn't
        > compatible with either Win32Forth or VFX).  My only concern is
        > that it doesn't appear to be actively supported anymore.  The
        > evaluation program contained files that were all rather old.
        > However, you should still be able to get support from them.
        > I don't know if this has helped any or not.  I suppose if I
        > was trying to earn a living from programming, I would go with
        > VFX or SwiftForth.  However, I don't, so I can trade-off my
        > time for the cost of a commercial Forth.  I have the
        > evaluation versions of both VFX and SwiftForth, yet I still
        > seem to do most of my work in Win32Forth.  This is probably
        > because it is the one I am most familiar and comfortable with.
        > In the end, I suspect any of the three would allow you to
        > create a usable program.  Which is "best" will depend a lot on
        > the details of your project (and future projects you might use
        > Forth on).
        > Regards,
        >    Jeff
        > On Fri, Mar 18, 2005 at 02:41:20AM -0500, wrote:
        >>I'm writing an APL informed personal programming environment
        >>which I expect to be commercial. I have started using
        >>Stephen Pelc's VFX but am wondering if win32forth may be a
        >>competitive foundation .
        >>What's your advice .
         Bob Armstrong -- -- 212-285-1864
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