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Chapter 1 Understanding Global Concepts

With the development of the Microsoft Macro Assembler (MASM) version 6.1, you now have more options available to you for approaching a programming task. This chapter explains the general concepts of programming in assembly language, beginning with the environment and a review of the components you need to work in the assembler environment. Even if you are familiar with previous versions of MASM, you should examine this chapter for information on new terms and features.

The first section of this chapter reviews available processors and operating systems and how they work together. The section also discusses segmented architecture and how it affects a protected-mode operating environment such as Windows.

The second section describes some of the language components of MASM that are common to most programs, such as reserved words, constant expressions, operators, and registers. The remainder of this book was written with the assumption that you understand the information presented in this section.

The last section summarizes the assembly process, from assembling a program through running it. You can affect this process by the way you develop your code. Finally, this section explores how you can change the assembly process with the OPTION directive and conditional assembly.


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