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Tool name: MASM32
Rating: 2.0 (1 vote)
Author: Hutch                        
Current version: 10.0
Last updated: August 13, 2008
Direct D/L link:
License type: Free
Description: NOTE: Not to be confused with MASM - Microsoft Macro Assembler (see separate entry)

MASM32 is a set of 32-bit assembler development tools and libraries for Windows containing Microsoft's MASM assembler and linker. MASM32 is known as a language with a lot of macros compared to other ASM languages, but has a more easily understandable coding system than standard PC ASM.

Installation is an automated process that will install on the local drive of your choice. MASM32 will not install on a network drive.

An assembler as powerful as MASM is capable of enmulating higher level languages while maintaining the performance and size of assembler code. This has been demonstrated with C style code that MASM already supports. The macro capacity built into MASM has allowed the development of a combined macro and library system that partly emulates basic style string handling and other similar language capacities. This allows experienced programmers with multiple language skills to leverage their existing skills and get up to pace writing MASM code more quickly.

MASM already is capable of building UNICODE applications using the traditional resource string method but additional macros are now supplied to write UNICODE strings directly into the data section in the same manner as normal BYTE data to make the capacity easier to use. There are a couple of UNICODE examples in the example code that show both methods.

Pelle Orinius has given permission to include his high performance linker and library manager in MASM32 for advanced assembler programmers who want to extract further size reductions from their code. Vladimir Kim's VKdebug is included to make fast debugging easier to use, Ernie Murphy's research work writng COM in MASM continues to be very popular and there is some very clever OOP example code written by Jaymeson Trudgden and Thomas Bleeker (NaN and Thomas) for programmers interested in this style of code design. A subset of Iczelion's classic tutorials are included in MASM32.

MASM32 comes with its own small default editor that has a reasonable number of prebuilt scripts to make code generation fast and easy. There is the choice of two seperate code generators for creating full window skeletons to develop application in. The editor has a large range of Winhelp help files so that information is available quickly when you need it and its menu system is extendable so you can add more information as you need it. You can easily extend this capacity by rolling your own scripts and prebuilt templates.

MASM32 assumes that the programmers who will use it already have experience in 32 bit Windows API programming using compilers and have done some work in assembler. It is not designed as a beginners package and it does not have the support for beginners to learn the basic concepts about assembler. It is recommended that beginners to programming learns a compiler like C/C++ Pascal/Delphi or PowerBASIC before they start on an assembler as this will produce the necessary experience to deal with concepts like registers, data sizes or registers, data types, assembler mnemonics, system API calls and different calling conventions. The learner can always come back to assembler once they are familiar and confortable with a compiler.
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