I developed Forth over a period of some years as an interface between me and the computers I programmed. The traditional languages were not providing the power, ease, or flexibility that I wanted. I disregarded much conventional wisdom in order to include exactly the capabilities needed by a productive programmer. The most important of these is the ability to add whatever capabilities later became necessary.
The first time I combined the ideas I had been developing into a single entity, I was working on an IBM 1130, a “third-generation” computer. The result seemed so powerful that I considered it a “fourth-generation computer language.” I would have called it FOURTH, except that the 1130 permitted only five character identifiers. So, FOURTH became Forth, a nicer play on words anyway.
One principle that guided the evolution of Forth, and continues to guide its application, is bluntly: Keep It Simple. A simple solution has elegance. It is the result of exacting effort to understand the real problem and is recognized by its compelling sense of rightness. I stress this point because it contradicts the conventional view that power increases with complexity. Simplicity provides confidence, reliability, compactness, and speed.
...Although I am the only person who has never had to learn Forth, I do know that its study is a formidable one. As with a human language, the usage of many words must be memorized.
...Forth provides a natural means of communication between man and the smart machines he is surrounding himself with. This requires that it share characteristics of human languages, including compactness, versatility, and extensibility. I cannot imagine a better language for writing programs, expressing algorithms, or understanding computers.