Book Review: The Art of Assembly Language, 2nd Edition

August 08, 2010
Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay

For quite a few of us in India and nearby, Ramesh Gaonkar's book on microprocessors and to some extent Douglas Hall's microprocessor book had been the earliest microprocessor text. The 8085 microprocessor and its variants appear on a multitude of student lab kits and higher school, junior college and engineering college projects.

In this time of Intel i3, i5 and i7 processor and high capacity SMP machines, it is the admirable effort taken by the first pioneering microprocessor engineers which has given rise to the burgeoning IT industry of present times.

The Art of Assembly Language is primarily a similar text book for assembly language as the two books mentioned earlier. It introduces readers to writing 32-bit x86 assembly code using HLA(High Level Assembler) language. The author of this book is also the developer for HLA language.

The book comprehensively covers topics from the basic libraries of HLA to advanced arithmetic, macros and string instructions. One of the unique topic covered is the object oriented programming support given by HLA.

Some of the topics in advanced arithmetic are extended-precision arithmetic, arithmetic on operands whose sizes are different, decimal arithmetic, and computation via table lookup. There is a complete set of bit operations that forms a part of any complete assembly language. There is an entire chapter dedicated to bit operations including the basic six activites upto bit-centric algorithms and their implementations in HLA.

To conclude the review, while the book is no doubt well-written, the use of HLA is one of the requirements for this book. This could require some adaptation in universities not using HLA as the learning tool.

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