A couple of the TAs have shown the students in their discussion sections a shortcut regarding use of the ascii code to move the cursor to a new line.

There is no question that what they have shown their students will be useful later on -- as indeed most things that do some of the work for you are useful.

It is called productivity enhancement, and is great AFTER you are sure you understand what is going on underneath. BUT, before you are sure you understand, invoking this kind of magic can get in the way of comprehension, and do you a disservice in the long run.

So, to put everyone on the same level playing field, I will explain the construct, and then strongly suggest you do not use it -- although if you do use it, the work will be easier but the comprehension perhaps less secure.

So, moving along ...

You all know that to get the monitor electronics to move the cursor to a new line, you need to put the ascii code for linefeed (x0A) into the DDR. Then the electronics takes over, and voila! The cursor moves to the left column of the next line. A simple way to accomplish this (which we covered in class today, Monday):

                        LD     R0, LINEFEED
                        TRAP   x21

        LINEFEED        .FILL  x000A

Suppose you wanted to write to the screen:

        The Eyes of Texas are upon you
        All the live long day

You need a line feed after the "u" in "you."

I would expect you to do this in four steps:

(1)                     LD    R0, LINEFEED
                        TRAP  x21

followed by the routine we did in class today (Monday) in which we first loaded the starting address of the string (The Eyes of Texas are upon you) into a Base Register and then wrote the string to the screen.

(2)                     LEA   R1, FIRST
                FIRST   .STRINGZ   "The Eyes of Texas are upon you"

Then another linefeed using

(3)                     LD    R0, LINEFEED
                        TRAP  x21

followed again by the same routine we did in class today, only this time with LEA loading the address of the string (All the live long day).

(4)                     LEA   R1, SECOND
                SECOND  .STRINGZ   "All the live long day"

Two of the TAs showed their discussion sections how to do the whole job with one string:

      ALL   .STRINGZ  "\nThe Eyes of Texas are upon you\nAll the 
                      live long day"

A good Assembler would place the ascii code for each letter into the next corresponding location in the object file being assembled. When the assembler came to the character "\" it would combine the "\" with the "n" to form what we call a special character, in this case the ascii code for linefeed, and insert x000A into the next correspoding location.

Thus if the address of ALL was x3050, for example, the assembled program would contain the code fragment:

                x3050:  000A
                x3051:  0054
                x3052:  0068
                x3053:  0065
                x3054:  0020
                x3055:  0045
                x3056:  0079
                x3057:  0045
                x3058:  0073
                x3059:  0020
                x305A:  006F
                ...     ...
                x306C:  0079
                x306D:  006F
                x306E:  0075
                x306F:  000A
                x3070:  0041
                x3071:  006C
                x3072:  006C
                x3073:  0020
                x3074:  0074
                ...     ...

I strongly prefer that you not do it this way THIS semester, since it gets in the way of your total comprehension. The Assembler is recognizing the two character code "\n" as a special charater meaning "linefeed" and inserts the correct ascii code (x0A) into the string to cause a linefeed to occur.

Certainly in the future you will use the short cut, having the assembler put the linefeed ascii code into the string because as shown above, it reduces the four fragments of code to one, indeed saving work. But right now we are all about total understanding, and short cuts often get in the way.

Good luck,

Yale Patt