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The Art of Assembly Language Kindle Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 760 pages

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Product Description

About the Author

Randall Hyde is the author of Write Great Code Volumes 1 and 2 (No Starch Press) and the co-author of MASM 6.0 Bible (The Waite Group). He has written for Dr. Dobb ™s Journal, Byte, and various professional journals. Hyde taught assembly language at the University of California, Riverside for over a decade.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2518 KB
  • Print Length: 760 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 2 edition (15 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003SNK99I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #519,600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cut my teeth on Assembler language programming back in the mid 1970's. Even though there are some good modern high-level programming languages, I still find it useful to program in Assembler sometimes. This is a nice book to get you started and also refresh existing skills.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8c733474) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c75abe8) out of 5 stars Not a General Purpose Guide to Learning Assembly 10 July 2010
By Michael Ernest - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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?

The technical discussion is sometimes overwrought, as if to assuage the nervous reader that things are ok. I found this style distracting, sometimes to the point of irritation. The technical understanding expected also appears quite uneven, as if much of the book was cobbled together from technical notes with lots of brainstorming marginalia. One minute we're looking at each element of a simple HLA program, then adding and noting unsurprising "new concepts." The next minute we're reading a very brief overview of the Intel 80x86, then a table of acceptable operands to the mov instruction. Then back to HLA and its control structures. Where are we going? The question came up more than a few times for me throughout the book.

This book could benefit from some sentence editing and section re-ordering, yes. But it mostly needs a clear, singular vision on teaching the subject at hand, and principles to guide that vision with exceptions only when straying off-course is the only way to make an essential point.

I think the bulk of objections I have read from others could be removed by two means. One, clarify who the audience really is. It can't be both serious programmers and people who need to be told where the Start button is on a Windows machine, or how to get to a command-line console. If the book is meant to address someone with non-academic experience on a computer, why not start with object code they can generate with a simple compiler switch? To me that's much easier that learning a sugaring language, then eventually working one's way down an arguably broader path. Two, call this book what it is: it is a guide to learning HLA. That really belongs in the title of this book.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c513018) out of 5 stars Calling this an "Assembly" Book is False Advertising 19 Mar. 2010
By Danny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm on a quest for a good book about assembly. I teach reverse engineering classes and many of my students ask what the best way to learn assembly is. Some day a decent book on Intel Assembly will be written, but that day is not today. Skip this book if you want to do anything mildly resembling real-world assembly. Paul Carter has a much better assembly book that is freely available for download. (Google "Paul Carter")

I think this book would be much more appropriate if it was titled "The Art of High Level Assembly." The current title borders on false advertising.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c75ae04) out of 5 stars Should be called "The Art of HLA" 4 Jan. 2011
By John Graham-Cumming - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was somewhat taken aback when reading this book to see the first example bearing almost no resemblance to assembly language at all:

program helloWorld;
#include( "stdlib.hhf" )

begin helloWorld;

stdout.put( "Hello, World of Assembly Language", nl );

end helloWorld;

It looks far more like C++ or Pascal than assembly language. In fact, there's not a single assembly language instruction in that example. That's because it's written in the author's own HLA (High Level Assembly) language that provides a vast number of help libraries and functions to make writing assembly language easier. That's a really worthy goal, but I think starting with a non-assembly example is misleading and confusing. This book would have been much better if it had dived into assembly and built up to HLA as a 'better way'. I assume that the author's argument is that using HLA makes it easier for people to get started and hence more people are likely to stay with assembly as the details get more complex. Personally, I don't like that approach, but others may be reassured by it.

Happily, the author does get into the details of assembly language programming, but it's entwined with descriptions of HLA. For me the book is a disappointment, for others it may well be just what they need to get started. I am giving it 4 stars because it's well written and clear but has a misleading title. If you wanted some hard-core, down and dirty assembly book then this is the wrong one for you. If you want to learn about assembly language by taking a route that gets you started easily then this is a good book.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c513420) out of 5 stars Art of HLA 21 Jan. 2013
By GoodRead65 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.

The problem I have with this book is I'd rather learn on MASM (or even GAS) which is A) more widely known and B) included with Microsoft's Visual Studio (free version too). One thing I asked myself was if I was going to put Assembly Language on my resume, would I rather say I learned it on an industry standard or someone's home grown project that few people recognize? And because it's such a long book, I'm hesitant to invest any more time in it. Instead I'll pick up a book that uses a more recognized programming environment - one I'm more likely to see in the field/workplace.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c51348c) out of 5 stars The Best Instruction Available for Intel/IBM Assembly Language 14 April 2010
By Ira Laefsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased my first Assembly Language Book by Randy Hyde on Apple II (6502) about 1982 in one of Boston's first computer stores.
I was amazed how a subject that was made difficult by well meaning Professors in my Computer Science curriculum could be taught exquisitely with cartoons and clear language in a book written for hobbyists. Randy has had almost thirty years since then in perfecting
his instructional and programming techniques for teaching assembly language since then and the current book illustrates this well.

Now that more powerful hardware has become available and even time critical and systems software (include entire operating systems) are
written in higher level languages, assembly language coding has become a forgotten black art. But it is still the best way of learning the relationship between a computer's hardware architecture and software implementation. While there are many books available today for
Intel Pentium Core Assemblers Randy's is still the best by far. He has taken in these recent editions the approach of implementing a
"higher-level" assembler with C/Java-like control structures which assembles to absolutely efficient and minimal machine code. In this
way he is able to teach beginners to assembly language a few statements at a time beginning with a C-like Hello World program and with a gentle introduction to CPU architecture; in a massive but easily understandable volume he proceeds to demonstrate a wide and inclusive variety of functions and data structures including string handling and object-oriented programming all implemented in efficient assembly
code.

This book is a tour de force of careful instruction in Assembly Language Programming, Machine Architecture, Data Structures and Efficient Techniques vital to the hobbyist and professional programmer. It should serve as a model of effective instruction in the
Computer Science Curriculum.

--Ira Laefsky
MSE/MBA Former Senior Consultant Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
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