ARM Assembly Language Programming


This page is the portal to a web-based version of my 1987 book, ARM Assembly Language Programming (AALP). For this first release, I'm just making the original files and various conversions of the book available on this site, the most useful one probably being the HTML linked to above. (I generated the PDF from IE5.5's rendering of the HTML because NS6 didn't seem to agree with some of the whitespace that GoLive embeds. I've tried to set the margins so it should print OK on both US Letter and A4 paper, but let me know if that's not the case.) If there is sufficient interested, I will try to get the files on to some kind of sharing website (e.g. sourceforge) so that people can update the book with information about the many generations of ARM since AALP was written. If nothing else, though, it's an interesting historical document.

Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in getting involved with the project.


ARM Assembly Language Programming is a book I wrote back in 1987 describing the instruction set of the then current ARM architecture, which was ARM3. It also contained some tutorial information about machine code, assembly language, data structures and using the BBC BASIC assembler.

The book is long out of print, and even I don't have any copies left, my last one having been swiped by a psychotic QA engineer from a previous employer of mine. I think she took it back to Australia with her. Oh well.

In mid-2001 I received an email from Ralph Corderoy suggesting that I may want to put the text of the book on the Web as he, and presumably some others, had found it a useful introduction to the ARM. Without even a hard copy to work from, this was going to be a struggle. I contacted Kate Moir of Xara, which back in 1987 was Computer Concepts, the book's publisher. Amazingly, and after a certain amount of digging on Kate's part, a couple of Macintosh-format 3.5" disks turned up. Kate sent me the contents of them, which appeared to be the binary files of the text of the book.

I had only the vaguest recollection of what word processor I'd used to write the book, other than it was incredibly slow and crashed a lot (but then this is 1987-vintage Mac software we're talking about...) With some prompting from Ralph, I dredged up the name MacAuthor from my memory, and Ralph volunteered to try to track down the people responsible for it. Meanwhile I wrote a simple program (in Java, not ARM assembler, I must admit) that exracted the likely-looking text strings from the files. This wasn't a very promising approach, but would have been better than typing it in from scratch.

Heroically, Ralph tracked down Mike Glover from Icon Technology, MacAuthor's creator, and Mike, even more heroically, managed to extract a much more usable text format from the binary files. These were the basis of the HTML pages: I wrote a program to parse the text files and generate CSS-oriented HTML files from them. Mike also generated Postscript files from the original MacAuthor binaries, from which Ralph created PDF files. This allowed me to extract the diagrams from book and convert them to JPEGs for the web pages.

Following all this activity, there was something of a hiatus when I was supposed to be preparing the documents from publication on the web. A combination of being busy at work and the strange ennui that affected a lot of people following September 11th prevented me from doing anything on it until Ralph finally pinged me again in late November, and I guiltily got off my butt and finished converting the files to HTML and extracted the images.


Several people contributed to the production of the AALP On The Web, and I'm very grateful to them for the time and effort they put in. They are, in order of their involvement:

Ralph Corderoy ( for conceiving the project and tracking down Mike Glover.

Kate Moir ( of Xara for digging through the basement of Gaddesden Place and tracking down a pair of 14-year old disks and transferring the contents of the files for me.

Mike Glover of Icon Technology for generously converting the MacAuthor files into something that could form the basis of the HTML on this site.

Samuel Kock for contributing all.pdf (ZIPped) in the resources directory, a combined file that contains the complete PDF of the book with bookmarks. This is also available in my Yahoo! briefcase

As is traditional in these situations, I take full responsibility for any errors that crept in during the translation (and in the original book, of course...) Though frankly I blame the California climate.

Change History

Can be found here