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# What is GASP?

The primary purpose of the GNU assembler is to assemble the output of other programs--notably compilers. When you have to hand-code specialized routines in assembly, that means the GNU assembler is an unfriendly processor: it has no directives for macros, conditionals, or many other conveniences that you might expect.

In some cases you can simply use the C preprocessor, or a generalized preprocessor like M4; but this can be awkward, since none of these things are designed with assembly in mind.

GASP fills this need. It is expressly designed to provide the facilities you need with hand-coded assembly code. Implementing it as a preprocessor, rather than part of the assembler, allows the maximum flexibility: you can use it with hand-coded assembly, without paying a penalty of added complexity in the assembler you use for compiler output.

Here is a small example to give the flavor of GASP. This input to GASP

        .MACRO  saveregs from=8 to=14
count   .ASSIGNA \from
! save r\from..r\to
.AWHILE  \&count LE \to
mov     r\&count,@-sp
count   .ASSIGNA  \&count + 1
.AENDW
.ENDM

saveregs from=12

foo     .SDATAC "hello"<10>
.END


generates this assembly program:

        ! save r12..r14
mov     r12,@-sp
mov     r13,@-sp
mov     r14,@-sp

bar:    mov     #57005+10,r0
foo:    .byte   6,104,101,108,108,111,10