I’m in full assembler mode these days, preparing to teach an assembler class for Marist College that starts on Monday. It’s playing havoc with my golf game, but the upside is I’m getting a lot done. I’ve recently updated chapters 1-4 of the assembler book. That includes a complete re-write of Chapter 4, trying to provide explanations of addressing on IBM mainframes. I’m also adding a problem set to the end of each chapter, trying to make the book function better as a textbook.
I will always provide access to the individual chapters online, but my plan is to self-publish an ebook and a printed version that can be ordered. More about that later.
I want to thank everyone who has pointed out errors or suggested improvements in the text. I am listening and making the changes you suggested.
It has been fun to be part of the IBM Champions program this year – an honor! The IBM Champions program is taking currently taking nominations through November 30. Is there someone who helps you or answers your questions? Say thank you by nominating them to be an #IBMChampion. Tell their story to help them earn their star. You can even nominate yourself. https://developer.ibm.com/champions/
I have just finished an extensive rewrite of book chapter 10. I’ve added much more material on USING and DROP. Besides an introduction to DSECTs, You’ll find a discussion of ordinary, labeled, dependent, and labeled dependent USING statements. There is an explanation of what the assembler is doing in pass one, and how the USING table is processed in pass two as you issue USING and DROP directives. I’ll probably come back and add some programming exercises, but for the moment, I’m done.
Many thanks to Ajith Thankappan for his helpful suggestions. You can find that chapter here and on the website.
Writing a book takes years – at least it does for me. Writing a book about a computer that is still evolving is difficult. The evolution of IBM System/z machines over the last twenty years is amazing. The things I wrote years ago are often dated now – mostly correct, but dated – newer instructions, newer techniques have come along. I’ll keep working at this – editing chapters and changing the content. Today I reposted Chapter 4. Kudos to Les Kelley for some good suggestions that got me thinking.
I’ve been working on a new assembler book for a while – writing new material and organizing the old material I’ve written into a coherent whole. I think there is a need for a book aimed at beginning assembler programmers, and this is my best attempt. I love John Erhman’s assembler text, Assembler Language Programming for IBM z System Servers – Version 2.00. It’s hard to beat John’s book for the wealth of material it contains. But I would characterize that book as a reference book, rather than a textbook. What I’m aiming for is a text that an instructor could use for a class, or a book that an interested reader could use on their own to learn IBM assembly language. So the book introduces topics in an order I found helpful for teaching beginners. I hope that together these two books will help you master this language.
Here is where you come in: I could use your help. I’m publishing each of the completed chapters on the website for you to use. If you find errors or have suggestions for making it better, let me know. You see, I’m not punctilious. I try to be – it’s a goal – but I’m not, and I need your help finding errors. At some point, I’ll put all the chapters together into a physical book and make it available to you. In the meantime, help me make this better now.
I’ll be teaching a beginning assembler class online again this fall through the Marist College IDCP as part of a two-course sequence. Together, we will write a series of assembler programs that lead to the mastery of skills needed to write assembler programs professionally. Each year, I add new materials and lectures to the course. Class sizes are manageably small, and I’ll communicate with you through on-line office hours and by email. Access to an IBM mainframe is provided as part of the course. Successful completion of these courses leads to IBM Digital certification. You can read more about the IDCP program here. Enrollment is going on now. Contact Roberta Diggins for more information (email: email@example.com or phone: 845-575-3601).
The IDCP offers courses in four areas: 1) Z/OS Programming and Applications, 2) Data Center, 3) Cybersecurity, and 4) Emerging Technologies, including an Introduction to Quantum Computing Algorithms and Programming.
I’ve added a second video as part of the introduction to VSAM for Assembler Programmers. You can find the first and second videos, as well as the related Powerpoints in the Video Course . Many thanks to Melvyn Maltz for generously making suggestions and pointing out corrections. I’ll add Part 3 soon.