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Fift deep dive

A high-level stack-based language Fift is used for local manipulation with cells and other TVM primitives, mostly for converting TVM assembly code into contract code bag-of-cells.


This section describes interacting with TON-specific features at very low level. Serious understanding of stack languages' basics required.

Simple arithmetic

You are able to use Fift interpreter as calculator, writing in expressions in reverse Polish notation.

6 17 17 * * 289 + .
2023 ok

Standard output

27 emit ."[30;1mgrey text" 27 emit ."[37m"
grey text ok

emit takes number from top of stack and prints Unicode character with the specified code into stdout. ."..." prints constant string.

Defining functions (Fift words)

The main way of defining a word is to enclose its effects in curly braces then write : and word name.

{ minmax drop } : min
{ minmax nip } : max


Though, there are several defining words, not only :. They're different in the sense words defined with some of them are active (work inside curly braces) and some are prefix (don't require space character to be after them):

{ bl word 1 2 ' (create) } "::" 1 (create)
{ bl word 0 2 ' (create) } :: :
{ bl word 2 2 ' (create) } :: :_
{ bl word 3 2 ' (create) } :: ::_
{ bl word 0 (create) } : create


Conditional execution

Code blocks (those delimited by curly braces) can be executed, either conditionally or unconditionally.

{ { ."true " } { ."false " } cond } : ?.   4 5 = ?.  4 5 < ?.
false true ok
{ ."hello " } execute ."world"
hello world ok


// ( l c -- l')  deletes first c elements from list l
{ ' safe-cdr swap times } : list-delete-first


Loop word times takes two arguments - let's call them cont and n - and executes cont n times. Here list-delete-first takes continuation of safe-cdr (command deleting head from Lisp-style list), places it under c and then c times removes head from list present on stack.

There are also words while and until.


{ 0 word drop 0 'nop } :: //
{ char " word 1 { swap { abort } if drop } } ::_ abort"
{ { bl word dup "" $= abort"comment extends after end of file" "*/" $= } until 0 'nop } :: /*


Comments are defined in Fift.fif. Single-line comment starts with // and continues to the end of line; multiline comment starts with /* and ends with */.

Let's understand why they work so.
Fift program is essentially sequence of words, each of those transforming stack in some way or defining new words. First line of Fift.fif (code shown above) is declaration of new word //. Comments have to work even when defining new words, so they must work in nested environment. That's why they are defined as active words, by means of ::. Actions of the word being created are listed in the curly braces:

  1. 0: zero is pushed onto stack
  2. word: this command reads chars until one equal to top of stack is reached and pushes the data read as String. Zero is special case: here word skips leading spaces and then reads until the end of the current input line.
  3. drop: top element (comment data) is dropped from stack.
  4. 0: zero is pushed onto stack again - number of results, used because word is defined with ::.
  5. 'nop pushes execution token doing nothing when called. It's pretty much equivalent to { nop }.

Using Fift for defining TVM assembly codes

x{00} @Defop NOP
{ 1 ' @addop does create } : @Defop
{ tuck sbitrefs @ensurebitrefs swap s, } : @addop
{ @havebitrefs ' @| ifnot } : @ensurebitrefs
{ 2 pick brembitrefs 1- 2x<= } : @havebitrefs
{ rot >= -rot <= and } : 2x<=

Asm.fif (lines order reversed)

@Defop takes care of checking if there is enough space for opcode (@havebitrefs), and if there is not, it goes on writing to another builder (@|; also known as implicit jump). That's why you generally don't want to write x{A988} s, as an opcode: there could be insufficient space to place this opcode, so compilation would fail; you should write x{A988} @addop instead.

You may use Fift for including big bag-of-cells into contract:

<b 8 4 u, 8 4 u, "fift/blob.boc" file>B B>boc ref, b> <s @Defop LDBLOB

This command defines opcode which, when being included into program, writes x{88} (PUSHREF) and a reference to provided bag-of-cells. So when LDBLOB instruction is ran, it pushes the cell to TVM stack.

Special features

  • Ed25519 cryptography
    • newkeypair - generates private-public key pair
    • priv>pub - generates public key from private
    • ed25519_sign[_uint] - generates signature given data and private key
    • ed25519_chksign - checks Ed25519 signature
  • Interaction with TVM
    • runvmcode and similar - invokes TVM with code slice taken from stack
  • Writing BOC into files: boc>B ".../contract.boc" B>file

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