The Art of Assembly Language

Why would anyone learn this stuff?
  • Your major requires a course in assembly language; i.e., you’re here against your will.
  • A programmer where you work quit. Most of the source code left behind was written in assembly language and you were elected to maintain it.
  • Your boss has the audacity to insist that you write your code in assembly against your strongest wishes.
  • Your programs run just a little too slow, or are a little too large and you think assembly language might help you get your project under control.
  • You want to understand how computers actually work.
  • You’re interested in learning how to write efficient code.
  • You want to try something new.
This is a book which teaches assembly language programming, written for college level students, written by someone who appears to know what he’s talking about, your natural tendency is to believe something if it appears in print. Having just read the above, you’re starting to assume that assembly must be pretty bad. And that, dear friend, is eighty percent of what’s wrong with assembly language. That is, people develop some very strong misconceptions about assembly language based on what they’ve heard from friends, instructors, articles, and books. Oh, assembly language is certainly not perfect. It does have many real faults. Those faults, however, are blown completely out of proportion by those unfamiliar with assembly language. The next time someone starts preaching about the evils of assembly language, ask, “how many years of assembly language programming experience do you have?” Of course assembly is hard to understand if you don’t know it.
It is surprising how many people are willing to speak out against assembly language based only on conversations they’ve had or articles they’ve read. Assembly language users also use high level languages (HLLs); assembly’s most outspoken opponents rarely use anything but HLLs. Who would you believe, an expert well versed in both types of programming languages or someone who has never taken the time to learn assembly language and develop an honest opinion of its capabilities?
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