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Memory Spaces (ROM/RAM)

Words that act on memory in the target can either reference the RAM (read/write) or the ROM (read-only). The available data space is dependent on whether it is being accessed during compile-time or run-time.


During compile-time, you’ll reference RAM by default. You’re able to select the affected data space using ROM and RAM for some words.

This is the only time where the ROM is writable (since gbforth is generating the program), and generally speaking, this is where you want to store most of your data.

Word Memory
c@ ROM
c! ROM
c, ROM
here ROM/RAM
unused ROM/RAM
allot ROM/RAM
align ROM/RAM
aligned ROM/RAM
create ROM/RAM
variable ROM/RAM

As you can see, you are not able to initialise, read from or write to the RAM at compile-time. Keep in mind that you can only reserve space in the RAM (and name the space with words such as CREATE and VARAIBLE), but gbforth will not initialise (or zero) this memory for you.

If you need to initialise the RAM, you’ll need to do this at run-time (meaning you might have to store some data in the ROM, and then copy it over on startup).


During run-time, you are unable to modify the ROM, so you always reference the RAM when trying to write or allocate memory. As such, the words ROM and RAM are not available here.

The ROM is still accessible for reading, but since @ and c@ read from a specific memory address, the memory space is implicit.

Additionally, words like CREATE and VARIABLE are not available due to the target not having an input steam to parse the name from.

Word Memory
c! RAM
c, RAM
here RAM
unused RAM
allot RAM
align RAM
aligned RAM
create unavailable
variable unavailable