July 2007


Jul 19, 2007: 9.  More about 'The Rose of Assembly'



I am speaking of RosAsm, that is a Good Thing, which I enjoy slowly and thoroughly.

Here is a little report, consisting of two brief pieces.

1. I have never had a better insight into the inside - of the computer, the code, and the application built with my code. It is all there right in front of my eyes: The Windows-application written in RosAsm; the Debugger, a very fine one with all information, very clearly layed out, that shows all about your application as it is stretched out in the computer's memory and registers, in all its diverse aspects; and the code in the Source-Editor, highlighted at the place in the Debugger.

Since compiling is lightning fast, one can intuitively directly edit one's code and Debug it, in virtually one process.

And just looking at it and trying to understand it shows and explains a lot, implicitly and explicitly, and does so much better and more completely and precisely than any HLL could do, about computing and the computer and code for it in general and in this particular case.

This is also true if you never were to code in assembler. It really is an educative experience to see what I am describing in RosAsm: This is the sort of thing that must be going on when running a program written in any language, documented and displayed to the smallest detail and the least bit, if desired.

And mind that in the Source-Editor of RosAsm right-clicking on virtually any piece of code immediately pops up specific help for that piece of code, clear and complete, and very revealing about what the code is meant to do.

One has the complete explanation of everything going on, and the reasons and terms and parameters for them, on the screen or just a click away.

Everywhere there is highly specific and precise help for almost everything (including incidental humorous and deserved exclamations like a pop-up that says "You have to ask about that?!! You poor fool!").

It's all very amazing, and in its own way quite beautiful. And also highly explanatory: So this is what is really  happening, when computing, in as much detail as one wants, all very nicely laid out, and extra-ordinarily well documented.

2. Then I have been playing around with making Windows-interfaces. RosAsm has a fine Resource-Editor for it, reminiscent of what I know from Delphi, and also something a bit simpler tool that I have been using now, the Dialog-Editor for Windows-interfaces.

This tool is very cleverly put together, and allows one to built complete interfaces by clicking and dragging, plus typing of captions and titles, and to adjust things in very great detail. And the beautiful thing is that this tool outputs the ready-made complete assembly-code for this interface - that one has written by clicking, dragging and typing a few things - in one's Source-Editor, where one wants it.

So in quite a few ways this is better than Delphi, for it is assembly and the previous point applies again: compile it and you can step through it as precisely as you want to, it is far more capable (for one can use the entire available Windows-Api, in principle, and not just what Borland precoded for you) and it is all completely open source and completely free, and everything is visible, and immediately alterable by anyone who has the wits and the knowledge.

Also, after the first few minutes this Dialog-Editor is quite intuitive and easy to work with - and again it is very clearly documented. Anyone used to making interfaces ("Forms") in Delphi will have no trouble with this, and indeed will find it more clearly laid out.

O, this is where you get RosAsm. You have a free will, and may be perverse. I find it amazing, beautiful and highly instructive, also in an enjoyable way.

Maarten Maartensz


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