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PICList Thread
'MPALC vs. MPASM ??'
1995\01\05@161154 by crocontroller discussion list

Harrison Cooper wrote:

>When it ain't broke, don't fix it........
> ....
>when did the switch [from MPALC to MPASM] occur and what is the
>benifits/drawbacks of the MPASM compiler - or is the MPASM the Parralax
>I don't want to have to rewrite my code for a new assembler - and it
>ought to be downward compatible anyway.


Unfortunately, MPALC _was_ broke.

MPASM is NOT Parallax's assembler; theirs is called PASM and is a
much... umm... "leaner" product.

If you've followed generally-accepted rules for writing
assembly-language code (labels starting at the leftmost column, opcodes
starting anywhere else, comments preceded by a semicolon), your code
will be compatible with MPASM.

MPASM drawbacks:

       MPASM needs more free memory than MPALC, since it dynamically
       allocates heap space.  This isn't usually a problem (especially
       for relatively-small programs), and there's a protected-mode
       version of MPASM that uses extended memory, anyway.

MPASM benefits:

       Too numerous to list.  The main ones are:

       It's supported by Microchip.  MPALC support was dropped a year

       It works with all existing and future PICs (including the 17Cxx

       It doesn't have MPALC's math bugs.

       It generates what's called a ".COD" file, which allows true
       source-level debugging with Microchip's PIC-Master emulator and
       MPSIM simulator.

       It adds a number of assembly directives, including a "#define"
       directive that forever solves the problem of addressing the
       correct bit of the wrong byte in bit-oriented instructions.  For

       With MPALC, you might write:

               DATAIN  EQU     1               ;"DATAIN" IS BIT 1 OF
                       BTFSS   PORTA,DATAIN    ;CORRECT USE.
                       BTFSS   PORTB,DATAIN    ;INCORRECT USE... I
                                               ;FORGOT TO WHICH PORT
                                               ;"DATAIN" WAS ASSIGNED.

       With MPASM, you can do this:

               #DEFINE DATAIN  PORTA,1         ;"DATAIN" IS BIT 1 OF
                       BTFSS   DATAIN          ;NO NEED TO REMEMBER
                                               ;WHICH PORT, AND NO
                                               ;CHANCE OF ERROR.

       Also, MPASM can create object-code files for use with the
       upcoming linker/librarian.  These object files will also be
       linkable with code generated by Byte Craft Limited's "MPC" C

Since MPASM is compatible with your existing source code (except for
some minor reserved-word conflicts [HIGH and LOW, for instance,
shouldn't be used as symbols in your source code]), it'd probably be a
good idea to move your development to MPASM as soon as possible.


Andrew Warren -
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

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