An assembly language is a type of low-level programming language designed to communicate directly with a computer’s hardware. Unlike machine language, which consists of binary and hexadecimal characters, assembly languages are created to be readable by humans.
How Assembly Languages Work
Fundamentally, the most basic instructions executed by a computer are binary codes, consisting of ones and zeros. These codes are directly translated into the “on” and “off” states of the electricity moving through the computer’s physical circuits. In essence, these simple codes form the basis of “machine language,” the most fundamental variety of programming languages.
Of course, constructing modern software programs by explicitly programming ones and zeros is impractical for humans. Instead, human programmers rely on various layers of abstraction that allow them to articulate commands in a format more intuitive to humans.
Modern programmers issue commands in “high-level languages,” using intuitive syntax such as whole English words and sentences, as well as logical operators like “and,” “or,” and “else” that are familiar in everyday usage.
Advantages of Assembly Language
Understanding assembly language provides awareness of:
- How programs interface with the OS, processor, and BIOS.
- How data is represented in memory and other external devices.
- How the processor accesses and executes instructions.
- How instructions access and process data.
- How a program accesses external devices.
- It requires less memory and execution time.
- It allows hardware-specific complex tasks more easily.
- It is suitable for time-critical jobs.
- It is most suitable for writing interrupt service routines and other memory-resident programs.