The zen of assembly language by Michael Abrash

By Michael Abrash

The 1st of 2 volumes (volume 2, subtitled The versatile brain, has no longer but been noticeable via SciTech e-book information) comprehensively treating complex assembler programming suggestions for the IBM laptop and compatibles, generally as regards to the 8088 processor.

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Similarly, familiarity with the hardware of the IBM PC is required. While that topic covers a lot of ground--display adapters, keyboards, serial ports, printer ports, timer and DMA channels, memory organization, and more--most of the hardware is well-documented, and articles about programming major hardware components appear frequently, so this sort of knowledge can be acquired readily enough. Abrash/Zen: Chapter 1/ The single most critical aspect of the hardware, and the one about which it is hardest to learn, is the 8088 processor.

When the count Abrash/Zen: Chapter 2/ reaches zero, the timer turns over and starts counting down again without stopping, and a pulse is generated for a single clock period. While the pulse is not held for nearly as long as in square wave mode, it doesn't matter, since the 8259 interrupt controller is configured in the PC to be edge- triggered and hence cares only about the existence of a pulse from timer 0, not the duration of the pulse. As a result, timer 0 continues to generate timer interrupts in divide-by-N mode, and the system clock continues to maintain good time.

In fact, after a given call to ZTimerOff, ZTimerReport can be called at any time right up until the next call to ZTimerOn. You may want to use the Zen timer to measure several portions of a program while it executes normally, in which case it may not be desirable to have the text printed by ZTimerReport interfere with the program's normal display. There are many ways to deal with this. One approach is removal of the invocations of the DOS print string function (INT 21h with AH equal to 9) from ZTimerReport, instead running the program under a debugger that supports screen flipping (such as Symdeb or Codeview), placing a breakpoint at the start of ZTimerReport, and directly observing the count in microseconds as ZTimerReport calculates it.

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