Rules for calling assembly subroutines from, Computer Engineering

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Q. Rules for calling assembly subroutines from?

The rules for calling assembly subroutines from C are:

(i)  Memory model: The calling program and called assembly programs should be defined with the same memory model. One of the most common convention which makes NEAR calls is .MODEL SMALL, C.

(ii) The naming convention generally involve an underscore (_) character preceding the segment or function name. However this underscore is not used while making a call from C function. Please be careful about Case-sensitivity.

You should give a specific segment name to code segment of your assembly language subroutine. The name differs from compiler to compiler. Microsoft C and Turbo C need the code segment name to be_TEXT or a segment name with suffix_TEXT. Also it needs the segment name _DATA for data segment.

(iii)  Arguments from C to assembly language are passed through stack.

For illustration a function call in C:

function_name (arg1, arg2, ..., argn) ;

Would push the value of every argument on the stack in reverse order. Which is, the argument argn is pushed first and arg1 is pushed last on stack. A pointer or a value to a variable can also be passed on the stack. Because the stack in 8086 is a word stack thuspointers and values are stored as words on stack or multiples of the word size in case value exceeds 16 bits.

(iv) Youmust remember to save any special purpose registers (like CS, DS, SS, ES, BP, SI or DI) which may be modified by the assembly language routine. If you fail to save them then you might have unexplainable / undesirable consequences when control is returned to C program. Though there is no need to save AX, BX, CX or DX registers as they are considered volatile.

(v)   Please note the compatibility of data-types:

            char Byte (DB)

            int Word (DW)

            long Double Word (DD)

(vi) Returned value: The called assembly routine uses the followed registers for returned values:

            char   AL

            Near/ int   AX

            Far/ long DX: AX


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