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Peter Norton's Assembly Language Book for the IBM PC

***** [Socha1992] Peter Norton's Assembly Language Book for the IBM PC
by Peter Norton and John Socha
 
Brady, December 1, 1992, 3rd/bk&dsk edition, cover price $39.95

This is a great introductory book. Probably still unmatched.

John Shocha is one on the very interesting figures of the PC revolution, almonst totally forfooten by now. He is the principal author of Norton Commander. The three initial versions of NC (1.0-3.0) were written by John Socha in 1984-1987. As John Socha recollected the events (personal communication):

I started work on what became known as the Norton Commander in the fall of 1984 while I was still a graduate student in Applied Physics at Cornell University. The first versions were entirely in assembly language, but that was too time-consuming, so I soon switched to a blend of C and assembly language at a time when most "real programmers" wouldn't touch C.

At the time I called it Visual DOS, with the abbreviation of VDOS instead of the usual two-letter abbreviations used at the time.
The program itself was inspired by several things coming together. I had a contract to write some books for Microsoft Press and actually spent some time in Bellevue, WA working on site. I'd take two months off from graduate school and write a book.

The second book was to be a book of small utility programs like I used to write for Softalk Magazine (such as whereis, scrnsave, etc.), but I never finished writing the book because one small utility took on a life of it's own.

He is also the author of Norton Guides, the first hypertext references (includes an assembler reference). You can still find then on Internet.

The book teaches assembly language in a simple but very clever way starting not with assember itself, but with the now forgotten debug program. That's really helps because debug can act as interpreter for simple assembly programs.  I would suggest replacing debug with the free full-screen debugger AFD.EXE  but still this is the best way to learn assembler. 

Also it make sense to use Norton Commander as a simple IDE for assembler. I recommend to run it from a DOS OFM you like (for example VC - Volkov commander or FAR) and use hview as a viewer.  See Softpanorama archive  for more details of this semi-forgotten world of DOS programming. It contains a lot of information and programs for fifteen year period from 1989 till 2004.

To sum it up this is one of the top introductory books for assembler ever written. Highly recommended...


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