MASM stands for Microsoft Macro Assembler which is the assembler launched by Microsoft for Microprocessors that belong to the family of x86. It was initially produced for operating system Microsoft MS-DOS. It uses intel syntax for the Windows of Microsoft and MS-DOS. The very first version of MASM was 8.0 and now there are two main versions of this assembler. One version caters 16 and 32-bit assembly sources and the other deals solely the 64-bit sources. The version that caters 64-bit assembly sources only is known as ML64.
MASM provides a wide range of benefits to users as compared to inline assembly. It entails a macro language with features such as arithmetic, looping, and processing of text string. MASM also provides greater control to users over hardware. This is because MASM supports instruction sets of 386, 486 and Pentium processors. Moreover, it also decreases the time and memory overhead.
Some of the major features of MASM are features below:
Structured programming idioms and Macro facilities
MASM supports a wide range of macro facilities along with the structured programming idioms. These facilities and idioms include a high level of constructions for including high-level constructions for looping, alteration, and procedure calls, therefore, those who use MASM, consider it as a very high-level assembler without a doubt.
Same version for 16 and 32-bit assembling source
MASM is categorized into two versions where one commonly supports both 16 bit and 32-bit sources which is one of the very few cases of Microsoft development tools. Another version named ML64, however, is there to support 64-bit assembling sources separately.
Feasibility and utility
This particular assembler is very feasible for a programmer who wants extra performance levels and a three-dimensional approach. MASM help such programmers to reach performance-based solutions. When users require additional performance for other languages, MASM enhances the performance of the languages with fast, small, dynamic but very imp link libraries.
Size and speed
MASM is capable of building very small but very high-performance files that are executable and well suited in terms of their size and speed.
Modules and libraries
MASM builds libraries and modules for programmers who use Microsoft Visual C and C++. The modules and libraries built by MASM are in the same format so C and C++ programmers can directly link them with their own C or C++ programs. This function enables the C and C++ programmer in a way that they become capable of targeting the critical areas of code very conveniently and in a very efficient way. It also provides the programmer with high-level games, graphics manipulation, high-speed data processing, and manipulation and parsing at speeds which is not possible anywhere else. Information processing such as compression, encryption and any other form that is processor intensive is also easy for the programmer.
MASM has been designed to familiarize itself with programmers who already have written the code in Windows that are based on API. The invoke syntax in MASM enables then functions to get called in very much similar way in which they are called in any high-level compiler
Compatibility with other assembles
MASM is compatible with many other assemble in a way that they can assemble most of the codes that are written for MASM except the ones with more complex macros. The compatible assembles are TASM (Turbo Assembler) which is a product now owned by Embarcadero and is supplied with RAD studio and C++ builder, JWASM Macro assembler which is licensed under Sybase Open Watcom EULA, Pelles Mac to Assembler which is a component of Pelles environment for development in C and UASM which is a free of charge assembler based on JWASM and is compatible with MASM.
All in all, Microsoft Macro Assembler aka MASM is a high-level assembler that relevant programmers must try for smooth coding programming and developments.