Interactive programming, using Forth, for C language

May 06, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
MPE (Southampton, UK) has configured Interactive C support for ARM architecture via its SockPuppet software. Interactive debugging and adding test harnesses from the start of an embedded coding exercise ensures, MPE asserts, that the code stays close to the initial specification.

The introduction adds Interactive Mixed-Language Programming to the tool box of C designers. Each language has its optimal target and cannot do everything best. The Forth Language was designed for control, interactive programming and debugging from the start. In the past, most new processors have been brought to life using Forth, as it is quick and easy to adapt and offers an integrated Language, Assembler and Compiler Tool Environment.


The new challenges of software complexity, MPE continues, bring the same problem up again - and now at a higher level - including the C software in addition to the hardware. MPE has used these interactive debugging techniques and advantages of Forth in custom projects over the past years to save time and development cost for its customers.


As a result of success and requests from the market, MPE has now included this capability to its commercial Forth Compiler products as standard by adding the SockPuppet feature. The C program is worked with as in the past. Test and Debugging is dealt with in Forth where needed, independent of the C code. The SockPuppet interface handles all of the communication between the two.


The SockPuppet interface is available immediately as part of the Professional VFX compiler versions. Customers who bought this product over the last 12 months will receive a free upgrade. Other customers can upgrade from their existing version, or start with the latest compiler. Workshops and in-house training are offered on request. Examples will be available for download from




Some additional free information is available at;


Using Mixed-language programming describes the process of developing software, where the code is written in two or more languages. Mixed-language programming adds the additional challenge of mastering a new language, but is very beneficial as existing and tested code written in another language can be re-used or it adds features not available before.