David Schmenk Releases PLASMA Assembler for Apple ][

David Schmenk has released his new Proto Language ASsembler for Apple or PLASMA for short.   This latest language release is the second for the creator of Java for the Apple ][.

According to the introduction on David’s website, “PLASMA is a combination of virtual machine and assembler/compiler matched closely to the 6502 architecture.  It is an attempt to satisfy a few challenges surrounding code size, efficient execution, small runtime and fast just-in-time compilation.  By architecting a unique bytecode that maps nearly one-to-one to the higher level representation, the compiler/assembler can be very simple and execute quickly on the Apple II for a self-hosted environment.  A modular approach provides for incremental development and code reuse.  Different projects have led to the architecture of PLASMA, most notably Apple Pascal, FORTH, and my own Java VM for the 6502, VM02. Each has tried to map a generic VM to the 6502 with varying levels of success.  Apple Pascal, based on the USCD Pascal using the p-code interpreter, was a very powerful system and ran fast enough on the Apple II to be interactive but didn’t win any speed contests. FORTH was the poster child for efficiency and obtuse syntax. Commonly referred to as a write only language, it was difficult to come up to speed as a developer, especially when using other’s code. My own project in creating a Java VM for the Apple II uncovered the folly of shoehorning a large system into something never intended to run 32 bit applications.

You can find a complete breakdown of the assembler and implementations in it at:

http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/PLASMA.html

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