Assembly Language – Interfacing to Hill Routines


There are times that high level languages need to call assembly language modules. This results due to constraints like speed and memory space.

We shall look at interfacing a Pascal program to an assembly language module.

The Pascal program will declare an integer based array, and pass the address of this array, and the number of elements in the array, to an assembly language module.

Using the address, the assembly language module will add the sum of the array, returning the result to the Pascal program.

The assembly language module is shown below.

	 TITLE Addup88
	 PUBLIC Addup
	Addup Proc Far Array : DWORD, Elements : WORD RETURNS Reslt : WORD
		 push ds  ; save ds register
		 push cx  ; save cx register
		 push si  ; save si register
		 lds si, Array  ; point DS:SI to array element1
		 mov cx, Elements ; count of elements
		 xor ax, ax  ; clear total
	lp1:	 add ax, [si]  ; add value to total
		 inc si  ; next element
		 inc si
		 dec cx
		 jne lp1
		 pop si
		 pop cx
		 pop ds
		 RET   ; exit to Pascal Module with
		    ; result in AX
	Addup ENDP

This is compiled to OBJECT code by the command


The Pascal module is shown below.

	 Program ADDDEMO (input, output);
	 Uses DOS, CRT;
	 Type IntArray = Array[1..20] of Integer;
		  Numbers : IntArray;
		  Result : Integer;
		  Loop : Integer;
	 Function Addup( var Numbers : IntArray; Elements : Integer )
		: Integer ; EXTERNAL;
		 {$L ADDUP88.OBJ}

		  for loop:= 1 to 20 do
			   Numbers[loop] := loop;
		  Result := Addup( Numbers, 20 );
		  Writeln('The sum of the array is ', Result)

When compiled under Turbo Pascal, the two object modules are linked together, creating an executable file.


Various options are supported by most assemblers. These options provide for

  • increase productivity
  • to check operation of assembler – macros, equates
  • to simplify control
  • provide flexibility


Command files are text files which contain commands to the assembler.


will invoke the assembler using the options specified in the
file Mycdfil. If this file contained the following,

	/a /e myprog, myobj, mylst;

this is equivalent to typing

	$TASM /a /e myprog, myobj, mylst;

This simplifies the process of having to repeat all the command line options whilst the program is being debugged.


The following directives are used to specify to the assembler, whether or not to assemble the bracketed group of statements which follow.


The IF directives and the ENDIF and ELSE directives can be used to enclose the statements to be considered for conditional assembly.

The conditional block of statements is used as follows,

	IF    debug
		xor ax,ax
		xor bx,bx

If the symbol debug equates to true (non-zero), the ax register will be cleared, otherwise the bx register will be cleared.

The IFDEF and IFNDEF directives test whether or not the given variable name/symbol has been defined.

	IFDEF    buffer
		buf1   DB 10 DUP(?)

In this example, buf1 is allocated only if buffer has previously been defined. It consists of ten bytes whose initial value is undefined.


A macro or definition file is a collection of definitions or program code which can be included into the source code program. A macro file is simply a file containing macro definitions.

The programmer adds these definitions to the source file using the include directive, and may remove unwanted definitions using the purge directive.

The include directive inserts the definitions or code statements from the specified file into the current source file during assembly, and allows any variables or declarations in the include file to be referenced or accessed in the source program being written.

	INCLUDE entry
	INCLUDE b:\include\c_stuff


List files have already been covered under section 6 dealing with CRS8.

The format for invoking the 8088 assembler is,

	TASM  sourceasmfile, objfilename, listfilename

or the /l option can be specified on the command line.

The following 8088 assembler directives can disable and enable the output listing.


Consider the following 8088 assembly language program.

	 TITLE Doscall ;Doscall.asm source file
	CR equ 0ah
	LF equ 0dh
	EOSTR equ '$'
	 .stack 200h
	message db 'Hello and welcome.'
	        db CR, LF, EOSTR
	print proc near
		 mov ah,9h ;PCDOS print function
		 int 21h
	print endp

	start: mov ax, @data
		 mov ds, ax
		 mov dx, offset message
		 call print
		 mov ax, 4c00h
		 int 21h
		 end start

When assembled with the following command line options,

	$TASM /l /n Doscall;

It generates a listing file. The list file for the program
looks like,

Turbo Assembler  Version 1.0        21-05-89 13:27:31        
Page 1
      1 0000                                 .MODEL  SMALL
      3       = 000A                 CR      equ     0ah
      4       = 000D                 LF      equ     0dh
      5       = 0024                 EOSTR   equ     '$'
      7 0000                                 .stack  200h
      9 0000                                 .data
     10 0000  48 65 6C 6C 6F 20 61 + message db      'Hello and welcome.'
     11       6E 64 20 77 65 6C 63 +
     12       6F 6D 65 2E
     13 0012  0A 0D 24                       db      CR, LF, EOSTR
     15 0015                                 .code
     16 0000                         print   proc    near
     17 0000  B4 09                          mov     ah,9h   ;PCDOS print function
     18 0002  CD 21                          int     21h
     19 0004  C3                             ret
     20 0005                         print   endp
     22 0005  B8 0000s               start:  mov     ax, @data
     23 0008  8E D8                          mov     ds, ax
     24 000A  BA 0000r                       mov     dx, offset message
     25 000D  E8 FFF0                        call    print
     26 0010  B8 4C00                        mov     ax, 4c00h
     27 0013  CD 21                          int     21h
     29                                      end     start

The s on line 22 indicates a segment register value which is filled in by the DOS loader when the program is loaded into memory. The r on line 24 indicates a relative value which is also filled in by the DOS loader.


Symbolic information is useful in determining the size and location of variables, segments etc. This information is used when debugging the program or locating the program in Eprom.

The 8088 assembler options available are,

	 /c  cross-reference in list file
	 /l listfile generated
	 /n suppress symbol table in list file
	 /zd line numbers in object code
	 /zi debug info in object code for debugger

When the previous program Doscall.asm is assembled with a list file and symbol plus cross-referencing, the additional information appended to the list file is,

Turbo Assembler  Version 1.0        21-05-89 13:35:03        
Page 2
Symbol Table
Symbol Name             Type   Value                       Cref  defined at #
??DATE                  Text   "21-05-89"
??FILENAME              Text   "DOSCALL "
??TIME                  Text   "13:35:03"
??VERSION               Number 0100
@CODE                   Text   _TEXT                       #1 #15
@CODESIZE               Text   0                           #1
@CPU                    Text   0101H
@CURSEG                 Text   _TEXT                       #9 #15
@DATA                   Text   DGROUP                      #1 22
@DATASIZE               Text   0                           #1
@FILENAME               Text   DOSCALL
@WORDSIZE               Text   2                           #9 #15
CR                      Number 000A                        #3 13
EOSTR                   Number 0024                        #5 13
LF                      Number 000D                        #4 13
MESSAGE                 Byte   DGROUP:0000                 #10 24
PRINT                   Near   _TEXT:0000                  #16 25
START                   Near   _TEXT:0005                  #22 29

Groups & Segments       Bit Size Align  Combine Class     Cref  defined at #
DGROUP                  Group                              #1 1  22
  STACK                 16  0200 Para   Stack   STACK      #7
  _DATA                 16  0015 Word   Public  DATA       #1 #9
_TEXT                   16  0015 Word   Public  CODE       #1 1  #15  15

This also shows which lines variables and labels were defined and referenced.



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