What's New at MPE?
Last updated: 24 October 2012
VFX Forth version 4.6
There are new library interfaces to libcurl, libiconv, SQLite3 and zlib. Additional notations have been added to the shared library interface to ease porting of code from other Forth systems.
The major feature of the v4.5 release was the cross-platform GUI interface to GTK+ and Glade. GUI and graphics code for VFX Forth is now portable across Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with no changes. See any version of VFX Forth for more details. There has also been an improvement in compilation speed.
See our benchmarks.
See the release notes.
Download the latest free trial version.
fJACK Audio interface
"VfxForth is the most fully featured FORTH I've ever worked with. This will be a fun project with lots of tools to work with."
"I know a lot of compilers are free but speaking freely, this is one of the best darn things I've spent money on."
"GUIgen is the best and most useful bit of code I've seen in a very long time." More about GUIgen
"I just wanted to write and congratulate you on your VFX Forth. What a wonderful system you folks have developed! I recently downloaded the evaluation version of VFX and rewrote a Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation that I had originally written for xxxxx. What a difference! Under xxxxx, a single run of the simulation takes over an hour on my computer. Under VFX, the same simulation completes in less than 4 minutes."
"I am actually VERY impressed with VFX Forth for Windows's code generation ... you have a fantastic product."
VFX Forth for Mac OS X is built from the same code base as VFX Forth for Linux, and includes the same VFX code generator and other tools. There is direct support for Mach-O executable file generation and there is access to all functions in shared libraries such as libSystem or frameworks such as Carbon and Cocoa. See the release notes.
Beta test versions are now available.
A customer said:
"Besides the amazing optimizing compiler, I love the DocGen documentation system. The easy C interfacing and Genio driver architecture have also been key for my project.
fJACK Audio interface
VFX Forth for Linux is built from the same code base as VFX Forth for Windows, and includes the same VFX code generator and other tools. There is direct support for ELF executable file generation and access to all functions in shared libraries such as libc is available. See the release notes.
"I am in awe of how fast VFX Linux Forth is. My experience is in the distant past with ... and more recently G... so I am not used to the optimized code produced by VFX. Very nice!"
" ... impressed by the features of the Vfx, and the fact that you have a *REAL* manual."
Free downloads of the evaluation version are available from the Southampton server. Login as "public" with a blank password. The 32 bit VFX Forth for Linux version is available in rpm and deb packages for 32 bit and 64 bit Linux variants, and a tarball. VFX Forth for Linux is suitable for all x86 32 and 64 bit Linux distributions.
The paid-for versions (Standard, Developer and Mission editions) include kernels for the 386/486 class CPUs used by many embedded x86 systems. VFX Forth for Linux runs very well on lightweight systems such as the Ebox2300 or 3300 family with 300MHz or 1GHz CPUs.
VFX Forth for DOS is built from the same source tree as VFX Forth for Windows, and includes the same VFX code generator, graphics and other tools. VFX Forth for DOS is mainly used for embedded applications. The PowerNet TCP/IP stack is available. For more details see our PowerNet page.
The version 4 releases are available with the same pricing as VFX Forth for Windows. Contact us for further details.
See the release notes.
"I continue to be astonished at the quantum leap the VFX software suite has taken from ProForth. It's been difficult to make the right choices during the conversion, without over-indulging, like a kid in the sweet shop not wanting to miss anything that could be potentially delicious."
Embedded systems tools
Forth 7 Cross Compiler for ARM7/9.., Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3.
Available now with Cortex-M0/M1/M3/M4 code generation and targets.
Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions are available.
Version 7 of the MPE Forth cross compiler compiles five to ten times faster than its v6 predecessors, now producing about 500 kb of binary code per second. There are many detail improvements to the compilers and the target code.
The first major item for users of 32 bit targets is the USB client interface. Your embedded system can be a memory stick or a virtual COM port or both (composite device). The code has been structured so that the hardware drivers are independent of the USB core layer and the class layer. Version 2 supports DMA operation for increased speed and reduced interrupt overhead.
The Mass Storage Class (memory stick) and Communications Device Class (virtual serial port) drivers require no installation of additional operating system drivers. Sample INF files are provided for Windows. The code has been tested with Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.
The second major item for users of 32 bit targets is the FAT filing system supporting removable media such as SD/MMC cards through SPI, CompactFlash and USB memory sticks. FAT 12, 16, and 32 are supported, auto-detecting at initialisation.
When ordering, please specify whether you want the Windows or the Linux version.
The ARM compilers produce faster code (15% average over v6.3) and ARM9 targets get a further improvement. More target configurations are available for Atmel ARM7 and ARM9 CPUs, the STR9 family is supported, and new drivers are available including SPI for the FAT filing system. The MSP430 compiler and target code have been overhauled, and the 68HC12 has improved paging support.
The Windows, Linux and Mac OS X hosted Forth 7 Cross Compilers provide a complete interactive development system for embedded targets. MPE's VFX optimising code generators are part of most version 7 compilers, producing excellent code quality and density. Customer comments include "Wow!" and "How do you do that?". As always, floating point, multi-tasking, full target source code, manuals and technical support are included as part of the package. Most compilers can be supplied with evaluation boards and prepackaged software configurations. For a complete list of targets, please visit our Forth 7 page.
A customer says:"
"My co-workers kept asking, "how can you do that?". I tell them it is the good tool, they think I'm good, too bad I don't use the C compiler!"
A user commented on a news group:
"Wow, your documentation is the best I've seen for any Forth system."
A customer commented on the 68xxx compiler:
"I'm impressed with the VFX code generator!! Did not see any reason to re-code them in assembly."
"... cross compiler has proven to be an excellent tool, thanks again to you and your staff for a product well done."
The PowerNet v4 stack for the v7.x Cross Compilers is available with remote firmware update capability. New DHCP and SNTP clients allow more automatic configuration at powerup. A new set of client-side service examples ease talking to remote web sites. Maintenance and production configuration tools are provided to reduce setup costs.
PowerNet is strong enough to be used on internet-facing sites with no firewall or other security measures.
For more details see our PowerNet page.
Version 5 with SOAP, XML and web services is in preparation. Web services enable embedded systems to be interrogated by and to exchange information with applications such as Excel and Project.
The CAN fieldbus is popular in many industries requiring high reliability. This implementation for Forth 6 compilers was originally developed for railway control systems, and is released as a cross compiler extension. Please contact us directly for more information.
Previous compiler versions
We are aware that embedded systems can have extremely long development and production lives. Consequently, we make previous compiler versions available where there is no direct upgrade path. The Forth 6, Forth 5 and Forth 4 cross compilers are still supported where Forth 7 compilers are not available; see the pricelist.
The RTX-2000 and RTX-2010 CPUs from Intersil were dual stack CPUs with fast and deterministic real time behaviour, but are no longer available. Now the significantly faster RTXcore is available for incorporation into FPGAs. In a Xilinx Spartan 2E, the VHDL clean-room implementation gives twice the original performance at lower cost, and includes an on-chip UART. The current software development tools work unchanged.
Free ARM Forth for Philips LPC21xx CPUs
A free Forth system with 125 page manual for all Philips LPC21xx and LPC22xx CPUs with at least 64k Flash and 16k RAM and cystal frequency of 10, 12, or 14.7456 MHz.
- Download lpcforth.zip.
- UnZip the files.
- Flash the file for the required cystal speed.
- Reset CPU to run Forth
Boards and Hardware
Designed to supply a computing core for industrial applications, this new PowerBoard provides all the standard "computer stuff" so that you can concentrate on the I/O handling. Stackable and robust.
CPU programmer and ARM/Cortex debugger.
The Versaloon Mini provides Flash programming facilities for a range of CPUs and devices. It can also be used to debug most ARM and Cortex CPUs with Open OCD (On Chip Debugger). The Versaloon Mini is also very attractively priced.
We supply the Galep-4 pocket programmer, and the Galep-5 and ALL-100 lab programmers. The Galep-5 adds in-system programming and the ALL-100 provides the widest range of devices and exemplary technical support.
Low-cost fanless PCs.
There's a revolution happening in industrial and networking PCs. Prices have fallen to the point where many industrial applications can be developed faster using standard Linux or Windows tools such as VFX Forth running on low-cost PCs rather than dedicated hardware.
Low volume applications that do not require specialised I/O are particularly suitable for this approach. The PCs that we supply have no moving parts and can boot from a USB memory stick or a Compact Flash card. They are available with 800MHz 486DX class (with FPU) and 1GHz P5 class (with FPU) CPUs.