Cross-Assembler definition

Modified on 2011/10/09 13:12 by Mark Categorized as Definitions
A cross assembler is a program which generates machine code for a processor other than the one it is currently run on.

An assembler is a program that converts assembly language ("human readable" text - if you are a nerd) into the actual binary processor specific machine code (non-human readable binary code - unless you are a nerd). Normally the machine code generated is for the processor used in the machine it is run on. A cross assembler takes this conversion process a step further by allowing you to generate machine code for a different processor than the one the compiler is run on.

Cross assemblers are generally used to develop programs which are supposed to run on game consoles, appliances and other specialized small electronics systems which are not able to run a development environment. They can also be used to speed up development for low powered system, for example XAsm enables development on a PC based system for a Z80 powered MSX computer. Even though the MSX system is capable of running an assembler, having the additional memory, processor speed and storage capabilities like a harddisk significantly speeds up development efforts.