File Size: 2556 KB
Print Length: 760 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: No Starch Press; 2 edition (March 15, 2010)
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Sold by: Digital Services LLC
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Best Sellers Rank: #475,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) #51 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > Languages & Tools > Assembly Language Programming #2310 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Computers & Technology > Programming #166924 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction
I started reading assembly language by looking at object output from various C compilers. I learned a fair amount by writing gradually more complex programs and reading the corresponding assembler. But eventually I wanted a concept-driven perspective to help me understand more of the whys and wherefores. So I turned to Randall Hyde because I'd read two other books of his, Write Great Code: Volume 1: Understanding the Machine and Write Great Code, Volume 2: Thinking Low-Level, Writing High-Level. Vol. 2 inspired me in particular because its contents matched the subtitle well, and the book led me in a very likely direction for my interests.I blithely assumed Art of Assembly would take things a step further, but it is not that book. It covers High Level Assembly, a software package of Hyde's invention that probably makes it easier for high-level language programmers to adapt to assembly code. The reader could learn enough HLA, Hyde proposes, to write low-level assembly directly. I think this point is questionable, and easily lost on some number of readers who are drawn in by the title. Not because it can't be done, but because most people adopting technologies on the go don't have the time or the need for small first steps into a complex, technically demanding topic. And why would you do this with HLA anyway, when you could immediately start doing this with C and the proper compiler switch?
I picked up Art of Assembly because I'm trying to brush up on my assembly programming skills. I've been programming in the higher languages for years but haven't even looked at assembly code since college.I've looked at several books on the subject and most if not all include a library or two that the author created to speed the learning process. AoA takes that further by including an actual compiler of the author's own creation. However, as many have pointed out, one begins to question if this book would be more aptly titled, "Art of HLA". Take the following section from the book:"The 80x86 CPU family provides from just over a hundred to many thousands of different machine instructions, depending on how you define a machine instruction. Even at the low end of the count (greater than 100), it appears as though there are far too many machine instructions to learn in a short time. Fortunately, you don't need to know all the machine instructions. In fact, most assembly language programs probably use around 30 different machine instructions. Indeed, you can certainly write several meaningful programs with only a few machine instructions. The purpose of this section is to provide a small handful of machine instructions so you can start writing simple HLA assembly language programs right away."Besides the repetitive use of "machine instructions" in each and every sentence, the thing I noted was the last sentence...writing simple HLA. Maybe that was unintentional, but I wanted a book on assembly, not a book on Randal Hyde's Assembly Language which, as I kept going, this book seemed more and more geared toward. The first several chapters are all about HLA to the point where I started to question what this book was really teaching.
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