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Raspberry Pi Assembly Language Beginners: Hands On Guide Paperback – December 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Smith is a former Technical Editor of Acorn User magazine and founder of Bruce Smith Books. Around half of his 150 books have covered the topic of computers and computer programming. He was one of the first to write about the ARM chip when it was originally released. He is well known for his easy, lucid style of writing and his books have been translated into five languages. Here are some snippets from user reviews written about his books: ‘This is the first computer book I’ve read in bed for pleasure rather than to cure insomnia.’ ‘Much more to offer, practical and down-to-earth…for those that want a complete, thorough and readable guide, Bruce Smith is your man. ‘No other author has investigated with the thoroughness of Smith…every page provides useful information. Put off getting that new game, and buy this book instead. You won’t regret it.’ ‘This book has been written with the absolute novice in mind. It doesn’t patronise, yet neither does it baffle with jargon and slang.’

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Product Details

  • Series: Hands On Guide
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (December 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 148112790X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481127905
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I wear a couple of different hats when it comes to writing. I write about computers and sport.

I have had well over 100 books published in a career spanning almost 30 years. The boom in the hobbyist home computer market in the 1980's brought it all about with the launch of the BBC Micro and then other home based systems such as the Amiga. Out of those early days and the development of desktop publishing David Atherton and I set up Dabs Press to publish our own books and from this grew dabs.com. The Dabhand Guide range of books were virtually all best sellers (in fact some titles we couldn't print fast enough).

As Dabs moved heavily into retail (and became the largest on-line retailer of electrical goods in Europe), I started Bruce Smith Books as a sideline and concentrated primarily on the Amiga 500. This quickly grew and the Insider Guide and Total! Series were great successes. Many of those Amiga titles are much sought after items today. Retro computing is a popular pastime for many.

It is a bit of an on-going joke at home that I am compiling a bibliography of my books. I never seem to finish as it is much more fun writing them! One day...

My other love has always been sport and at Bruce Smith Books we set up the 'Words On Sport' imprint. This was used to create a range of Pocket Annuals that covered a variety of sports: Premier League, Cricket, Rugby, and Formula 1. Another side line at that time was 'packaging books' for other publishers. With the huge databases of sport information we had we did this for the likes of Sky Sports and Headline Publishing. Much of this data was also used in the creation of many of the Fantasy Football sites that exist today. We also helped with a number of magazine launches, and I myself wrote most of the copy that went into the first two issues of Four-Four-Two magazine.

Highbury: The Story of Arsenal Stadium was a major success. Published by Mainstream, the hardback version has sold out but is still available in paperback and eBook format.

The launch of the Raspberry Pi has been a welcome distraction and 'Raspberry Pi Assembly Language Beginners' is the first in a series of Hands On Guides that I will be writing during 2013.

Follow me on Twitter at @brucefsmith or see my website at www.brucesmith.info

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Linux Poor Boy on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was an awful book to learn assembly language usage on a Pi. The author seems to have repackaged some of his other writing on assembly language. The book has nothing to do with a Raspberry Pi. There is not one example dealing specifically with a Pi. No mention of Pi's GPIO, timer, etc. At least I learned how to write an assembly language program to switch an infrared LED, triggering my Nikon D70 camera remotely. But it was not from this book but a "free" tutorial from [...]. I'm a novice looking for help and this book was a disappointment.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bruce J. Skelly on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book and returned it.

Most people who buy a Raspberry Pi computer will probably start by installing Raspbian OS, a Raspberry Pi specific version of the Debian Linux distribution. To that end I expected this book to explain how to set up a toolchain to assemble, link, execute and debug programs. I also expected an introduction to the ARM architecture, including an overview of the instruction set with examples of calling system functions, examples showing how to accomplish a variety of tasks such as file and terminal i/o.

What this book does provide is instructions to install a single user, cooperative multi-tasking operating system from the late 1980's, RISC OS. (Think Windows 3.1 or Mac OS 7.) Furthermore rather than using a modern toolchain, or IDE, the user is instructed to use an assembler function of the BASIC interpreter. Now there is nothing wrong with RISC OS, especially if you've used one of the Acorn microcomputers, or BBC Basic. It was very popular in the UK, but relatively unknown in the US. Even if the user does gain a knowledge of assembly language as it relates to the ARM V6 core in the Raspberry Pi, the user doesn't end up with a knowledge of how to use that information in the Linux environment that most people will use.

I gave this book a three star rating, because it does do a good job of covering Assembly Language for BBC Basic on RISC OS, it is just not what most people would expect it to be, an Assembly Language introduction for Raspbian OS (Linux).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to coding in ARM assembler on the Raspberry Pi with RiscOS. The focus is more on the assembler than on the Pi or on RiscOS, but I believe that if you want to get started using ARM assembler there is probably no easier platform to do that than the Pi with RiscOS.

The author assumes no specific low-level knowledge and does a great job explaining the basics. Fortunately he does so in a way that an experienced old hack like myself can skip over the introductions and get straight to the meat. I was able to read the book in one flight from Zurich to San Francisco, although the problem with that is that my hands were itching all the time to get some coding done with my newly acquired knowledge :-)

Do *not* buy this book if you want to know how to code in Python under Linux on the Pi.

*Do* buy this book if you want a great introduction to the ARM architecture, instruction set and assembler.

The author promised a follow-up book with more advanced topics which I will surely buy.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Let's Compare Options Preptorial TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are all kinds of things written about the wonders of learning assembly, as I did decades ago: you're up on the latest ARM technology, which also goes all the way back to the 80's; you finally really know what makes processors tick; you can create much more efficient programs than with Linux or Python... the list goes on. On top of it is the fact that we've pretty much lost a couple generations of machine level programmers due to object oriented, C and other chip requirements.

But now for the ugly underbelly. Assembly is not "hard" to learn, but it is a PAIN. It is filled with all kinds of details like stacks, memory allocation, binary, hex, and hoardes of 1's and 0's. If no one else is willing to tell you, I will-- it can be BORING if you don't have a certain personality. So, odds are, some buyers will get this and it will gather dust on their shelves. This is especially true if you have ADHD, like a lot of us programmers ironically do!

Any kind of programming skill requires the old "wax on - wax off" continual practice to get it-- many hours of it. With assembly, that means a lot of tolerance for even more repetitive detail than classes and methods in C#! This book isn't as complete as many other 500 pagers on assembly detail, nor is it as project oriented as, for example, Maxfield's classic Boolean Boogie book-- Bebop to the Boolean Boogie, Third Edition: An Unconventional Guide to Electronics. Sure, Raspberry has an ARM core, but you can also get an ARM emulator, a TI SDK, and study the same stuff on your PC. So, The Raspberry, to be honest, is a "hip" way to get folks interested in this title.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Amendolare on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not a cookbook, or a tutorial that steps through the building of an application on the RPi.
This book teaches the basics of Assembly (or Assembler in the UK) Language programming as it relates to RISC OS running on the Raspberry Pi.

Why do we need this? Because RISC OS on the RPi is faster and smoother than running the default Linux operating system designed for the Pi. Using Assembly Language in the RISC OS environment allows us to access the lowest level of the CPU, called "bare metal programming". Being able to access the lowest level of the CPU via Assembly Language makes for very efficient and fast programs.

RISC OS running on the RPi = a small, fast and efficient operating system.
Assembly Language programming in the RISC OS environment (running on the RPi) = much faster and more efficient code.

You can apply this knowledge of Assembly Language programming to other ARM processors, and to many other processors in general, to create very fast running programs.
By learning Assembly Language programming you will obtain a great understanding of the inner workings of the CPU.

This book is very much like the books written in the 1980's about 6502 Assembly Language for the Atari, Commodore 64, etc. Back then code had to be small (in terms of memory use), also it had to be efficient and fast to run on machines with very limited resources, which holds true for the Raspbeery Pi.
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