Micro Mainframe
MVS and OS/390

Although I consider COBOL my primary language, I have always had an interest in Assembler, perhaps because when I started learning higher level languages (specifically COBOL and RPG) back in 1973, I was fortunate enough to have teachers and mentors who knew (and took the time to explain to me) what underlying assembler instructions would be generated for some particular higher level syntax.  

In the latter years of the 1970's I was working for a bank and was one of those programmers that made the auditors cringe since I was perfectly comfortable patching the generated load module to make a simple change in a program rather than making a source change and recompiling.

In the last half of the 1980's I found that I could often make better solutions to problems by writing subroutines in Assembler to be called from my main COBOL programs.  To my surprise, I found that in a couple of the companies that I worked for my routines "bled" out of my project group and became the company standard for handling particular problems.

Even more so than other technical books, Assembler text books do not stay in print long and there are few people writing new ones.  Most of the Assembler texts I hold on my shelves are considered antiques and are long out-of-print.  Unfortunately, the one text that I often grab for reference falls into that category also.  The three texts that seem to be most recommended when the question is posed in newsgroups I frequent are those written by Peter Abel, Overbeek/Singletary, and Stern/Sager/Stern.  I have read the Abel and Overbeek/Singletary books and agree that they are excellent, although I don't presently have copies in my library.  I would point to Abebooks.COM as a possible source to obtaining good used copies of these (and other programming related) books.  They may also be available new, but with a longer lead time and higher price from Amazon.COM

If you are interested in learning Assembler and have no prior knowledge, I recommend that you get a copy of Mainframe Assembler Programming by Bill Qualls.  The text is extremely understandable, starts you writing code from the first day in chapter one, and structures all lessons around real-world business applications.  The book includes a copy of PC/370, an emulator which runs on a microcomputer (DOS, OS/2, or Windows/95/98/NT) to allow you to assemble, execute, and debug the programs you write.  

I have been informed by Bill Qualls that this title is now out-of-print, although there are some used copies available at  Abebooks.COM, albeit at rather high prices.  Bill Qualls has graciously made the text of the book available online at www.billqualls.com/assembler/index.html.

Assembler Discussion List

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Assembler Resources on the Web

dmoz Open Directory Project:

Links to just about all know IBM mainframe assembler resources on the Internet can be found at this site.

HLASM Web Site:

IBM High Level Assembler web site.

If you want to see some of the assembler subroutines I have written, select the Resumé navigation tab.

This page was last updated on April 09, 2009.