Forth as a scripting language

Albert van der Horst albert at
Wed Aug 14 10:11:41 CEST 2002

In article <just-3D93E5.19410108082002 at>,
Just  <just at> wrote:
>In article <o58uia-q8q.ln at>,
> Mart van de Wege <mvdwege.usenet at> wrote:
>> For example, this is what I recently did to extract all IPs from my
>> access.log:
>> ----- BEGIN SCRIPT -----
>> #!/usr/bin/perl
>> use warnings; # Make Perl picky about syntax.
>> use strict; # Make Perl *really* picky.
>> my @iplist; # Declare an array to hold all IP addresses.
>> open (FILE, '/var/log/apache/access.log');
>> while (<FILE>) {
>>      /^(\d+\.\d+\,\d+\.\d+)?/;
>>      next unless $1; # Skip if the first field is somehow empty.
>>      next if $1 eq ''; # Skip localhost.
>>      push @iplist, $1;
>> }
>> # @iplist now holds all IPs in the first field of access.log.

Full of idiosyncracies :
   < > around FILE
   / / round a reg exp
   reg exp working on $_ (uck)
   next construction
   unless is a superfluous language embellishment

>> ----- END SCRIPT -----
>> Python can do this too of course, but somehow this is the sort of task
>> that comes naturally to me in Perl. Note the use of the regexp:
>> 1. I don't have to explicitly declare and compile it.
>> 2. It operates on the default input variable ($_), so I don't have to
>> specify its target, I just use a bare regexp.
>import re
>iplist = []
>for line in open("/var/log/httpd/access_log"):
>   m = re.match(r"^(\d+\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+)", line)
>   if m:
>      ip =
>      if ip != "":
>         iplist.append(ip)
>I don't thinkthat's significantly worse (or better...) than the Perl

I think it is clearly superior!
- There is just the amount of code to keep track of what is going on
- It properly reflects the logic of the program
- Constructions are consistent and evocative, even without
  studying the ``re'' module.

This is the way I want scripting done in Forth.

It would work out approximately this way:


1000 SET Iplist  Iplist SET!

: 2SET+! >R SWAP R@ SET+! R> SET+! ;

"/var/log/httpd/access_log" GET-FILE $DO
$LINE "^(\d+\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+)" RE-MATCH IF
        \1 "" COMPARE 0= IF \1 Iplist 2SET+! THEN

This is admittedly inferior to Python, but not by too much
given the fact that Forth is such a light weight language.

Note that this doesn't work without slurping the file.
The pointers stored in Iplist would be worthless if pointing
to a fixed buffer reused all the time by READ-LINE.

Extension to be built in Forth in this behalf:
1. SET (can be borrowed from ciforth, a one-screener)
2. interpretive loops (idem)
3. GET-FILE (also known as SLURP, rather common)
4. $DO $LINE $LOOP ( To be done)
5. RE-MATCH  ( To be done)

Convention of usage of reg expr in Forth however have not yet
converged (in 20+ years. How long did it take in Python?)
The work of (at least) Marcel Hendrix and Putka has almost
the regular expression matching such as wanted there.

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Groetjes Albert
Albert van der Horst,Oranjestr 8,3511 RA UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
To suffer is the prerogative of the strong. The weak -- perish.
albert at

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