Threaded forth code consists of references to primitives (simple machine
code routines like
+) and to non-primitives (e.g., colon
definitions, variables, constants); for a specific class of
non-primitives (e.g., variables) there is one code routine (e.g.,
dovar), but each variable needs a separate reference to its data.
Traditionally Forth has been implemented as indirect threaded code, because this allows to use only one cell to reference a non-primitive (basically you point to the data, and find the code address there).
However, threaded code in Gforth (since 0.6.0) uses two cells for
non-primitives, one for the code address, and one for the data address;
the data pointer is an immediate argument for the virtual machine
instruction represented by the code address. We call this
primitive-centric threaded code, because all code addresses point
to simple primitives. E.g., for a variable, the code address is for
lit (also used for integer literals like
Primitive-centric threaded code allows us to use (faster) direct threading as dispatch method, completely portably (direct threaded code in Gforth before 0.6.0 required architecture-specific code). It also eliminates the performance problems related to I-cache consistency that 386 implementations have with direct threaded code, and allows additional optimizations.
There is a catch, however: the xt parameter of
occupy only one cell, so how do we pass non-primitives with their code
and data addresses to them? Our answer is to use indirect
threaded dispatch for
execute and other words that use a
single-cell xt. So, normal threaded code in colon definitions uses
direct threading, and
execute and similar words, which dispatch
to xts on the data stack, use indirect threaded code. We call this
hybrid direct/indirect threaded code.
The engines gforth and gforth-fast use hybrid
direct/indirect threaded code. This means that with these engines you
, to compile an xt. Instead, you have to use
If you want to compile xts with
,, use gforth-itc.
This engine uses plain old indirect threaded code. It still compiles in
a primitive-centric style, so you cannot use
compile, instead of
, (e.g., for producing tables of xts with
] word1 word2
... [). If you want to do that, you have to use gforth-itc
' , is compile,. Your program can check if it is
running on a hybrid direct/indirect threaded engine or a pure indirect
threaded engine with
threading-method (see Threading Words).