<builds is the older sibling of create. It has been in use in pre-ANSI Forth’s and is still around as an supplemental tool. It is a parsing word that takes the next word from the input source and creates a dictionary entry in the current word list. Unlike create it does not add an execution token. Thus the word list entry created is unfinished and calling it will crash the system.

The definition of the word list entry is finished with the does> section, that makes the word list entry a proper callable word.

The big advantage over create is that create requires a rewrite of the contents of the execution token. That is on microcontrollers with the flash based dictionary only possible if a single cell can be re-programmed. The Atmegas can do that with little efforts, the MSP430 lacks essential ressources to do so.

From the programming perspective there are no differences. <builds can safely replace create in defining words that contain a does> section as well. All other occurances of create should remain unchanged.

: constant create , does> @i ;
\ or
: constant <builds , does> @i ;