Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers (4th Edition)

Author: Kip R. Irvine
List Price: $85.00
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ISBN: 0130910139
Publisher: Prentice Hall (25 July, 2002)
Edition: Hardcover
Sales Rank: 34,557
Average Customer Rating: 3.6 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
Carefully organized, with helpful examples.
I am a computer engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a little skeptical of the high price at first and the fact that Kip Irvine has the readers use his library of functions throughout the book (I felt I would learn fewer details). However, after already reading about half of this book, I can say for certain that using Mr. Irvine's code library really does aid the learning process by helping the reader/programmer focus on what's really important early on in the study of assembly language. Also, he eventually does explain how his own functions work, so we are definitely not cheated of the details.
I also love the relevance and vast number of the book's actual code examples. I previously bought "Assembly Language Step-by step" by Jeff Duntemann and, after reading the entire DOS section, still did not feel that I could really code in assembly language. That isn't the case with this book. The chapters, and each chapter's code examples, are carefully organized and well explained, and doing the programming exercises at the end of each chapter really helps.
As for the $85 price tag...well, it's supposed to be a college textbook, after all. So, with all its clarity and information, just feel lucky it's not over $100, as many of my *unhelpful* textbooks are. By the way, it helps to know and understand decimal/binary/hexadecimal numbers (topics such as "2's complement") beforehand, since they are all used so often in assembly coding. If not, that's fine. The earlier material just might take a little more time.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Overcomplicated for the intro book; no debugger coverage
A bad, overcomplicated and dull college textbook used in many colleges for the assembler class. Pretty boring and uninspired coverage typical of many college textbooks. It might be suitable as a reference but never as a textbook: the author has no abilities at all in distinguishing between important and unimportant material as well as material suitable and unsuitable for the intro course.

For self-education I would recommend using old John Socha's book Assembly Language for the PC instead (it covers only real mode but this is OK for the introduction) or Assembly Language Step-By-Step Programming With DOS and Linux.

The only good thing about this book is that the CD ROM included with the book contains MASM 6.15.

Again, the most bad thing about the book is that the author fails to distinguish between really important and redundant information and overload the book with an extra material. His approach is to add some predefined routines to assembler to make it more like a high level language. But at the same time he converts the language into a variant of C++: obscure mass of unnecessary details that overwhelm almost all novices.

Without help of the debugger assembler is almost incomprehensible. IMHO for most students, especially for community college student for whom the book was originally written might passionately hate of assembler for the rest of their lives.

So it does not surprise me that out of 17 chapters the author did found space to cover the debugger. He is too preoccupied with obscuring things that with making them simple. Actually CodeView in included on the disk and can be used for debugging the programs in 8086 mode: again I would like to stress that using the debugger is the only right way to learn assembler. Thus this is not a shortcoming, this is a real blunder and that's why I give then book only two stars: in my opinion this makes book really harmful book as it discredits the idea of assembler as an important language for any computer science student.

If you want to compensate for this shortcoming it might be not easy as additional subroutines make finding the actual code not that easy. But you can use some tricks marking the start of the code with a special sequence of commands and then finding them. There are several debuggers for 32-bit mode as well. As author himself noted on the CD ROM:

For 32-bit Protected mode programming, two excellent debuggers you can use are:

- Microsoft Visual C++ Debugger - This is an integral part of Microsoft Visual Studio. Look for a tutorial on our book's Web page that shows how to set up and use this debugger.

- Microsoft WinDbg Debugger - This is a stand-alone debugging utility that can be used to debug both user-mode programs and kernel-mode programs (such as device drivers). At the current time, this debugger can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's Debugging Tools for Windows web page. If this link becomes inactive, check our book's Web site for an updated URL.

There is an author website for the book. The first three chapters are available online.

Rating: 5 out of 5
excellent guide for enginners
This book is an excellent guide for software and hardware engineers who would like to learn assembly language of intel processor at an academic book style,it covers many subjects related to own assembly programming,ms-dos concepts,16 bit and 32 bit programming,modular programming with creation of high level language interfaces and very detailed string handling with file i/o at any levels. And more importantly its examples are very good. Covers almost every aspect of the assembly and the processor. It is a MUST for profession on assembly.

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