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Learning Assembler on Amiga #3 - More Environment Setup

learn how to extract zipped files in LHA format and about to deal with WHLoad packages.

6 years ago

Latest Post The Great Escape Tunnel by Mario Esposito public

Today, we’re going to achieve another goal often not that straightforward to reach for the newcomer. There’s plenty of information out there, however, once again it is all sparse and the time required to collect that knowledge absorbs a big chunk that could be left to practice assembler coding. You are in luck, as I have gone thru that for you. You are welcome...

Quick Refresh

UAE emulator allows you to have a virtual hard drive that in reality is a folder on the host machine, in my case macOS and it's called AMIGADRIVE. That folder can be used to move things in/out of the Amiga virtual machine.

Amiga files are often found on the net in a zipped format that ends with .LHA and most installer programs require a script library that doesn't come with the installation of the WB disks.

Install Asm-One

Installing Asm-One isn’t very tricky however there are a couple of showstoppers that could make it more complicated than it should be, hopefully, this guide will save you the time that I had to invest to figure the pieces out...

Compressed Files

Zipped files are compressed files. We’re accustomed seeing files named foobar.zip and realize that it’s an archive. LHA is another format of compressing digital information. It has been wildly popular on Amiga. All files that you find on Aminet, the largest Amiga Software repository, is compressed with LHA.

So getting an LHA unpacker is most critical to deal with downloaded software that is compressed for Amiga. Move that file into the swapping drive.

To expand this particular file type the following from a CLI SHELL

AmigaDrive:lha.run ram:

that line will extract the unarchiever lha in the RAM. From there you can type

copy RAM:lha C:

which will make it available to the entire system and you can use it in the future to expand LHA archives using

lha x compress-something-here.lha ram:

WHDLoad

Some awesome people at some point in the post-Amiga commercial era started packing Amiga software that was meant to run from floppy disks into hard drive friendly packages. Those also are zipped in LHA format. Inside there’s a launching mechanism that prepares the environment to allow the execution of something that wasn’t originally meant to run in that way. A great repository of software of that type can be found on http://whdload.de. It used to be commercial however in the recent years it has been freed. YAY!

Step One

Download WHDLoad package. Don’t do anything just yet.

Download from Aminet ASM-One. The red arrow in the picture should give you a clue for the full address :-)

And finally, download this file. Which is an installer binary.

Step 2

Configure FS-UAE as shown in the picture below. The configuration and hard drive we’re using are the same as shown in lesson two.

Take note of the order in which they are configured as they will take the same ordinal number once the workbench has been launched. If you make any change, keep that in mind in adjusting my instructions accordingly. Naturally, you shouldn't have any floppy configured in the floppies tab of UAE otherwise they will take over this configuration. Now, launch the simulator.

Step 3

In order to be able to install WHDLoad and many other apps, you need an app called Installer (DOH!).

  1. Open a CLI shell
  2. Type DH1: (or whatever you named your external HD) and then enter
  3. dir

You should be seeing what I show below.

Type the following, to copy the installer into the C: location. A default location for all commands. All Amiga software looks there for system commands.

copy Installer<version-at-the-moment>Installer c: Installer

It is in most instances, case sensitive so pay attention at how I spelled it in the screenshot. You can close the CLI, we’re done with that.

Step 4

Double click on the disk DH2 (as per screenshot), find the installer and launch it. I trust that if you want to learn assembler, you don’t need me to teach you how to proceed with this task.

Step 5

Many pieces of amiga workbench software rely on a library called ReqTools.

Asm-One installer requires a version of ReqTools that doesn’t come with WB3.1. Let’s get that from the awesome Aminet. (ReqToolsUsr.lha) Without it, the installer will stop at some point.

reqtools.library is a standard Amiga shared, runtime library. The purpose of ReqTools is to make it a lot quicker and easier to build standard requesters into your programs. ReqTools is designed with Commodore’s style guidelines in mind, all requesters have the look-and-feel of AmigaDOS Release 2.

update: many months later after writing this article I found this blog post that articulates an "easier" path to perform the steps listed above, they bring the same result though. Adding for completeness.

Step 6

It’s time to setup Asm-One, finally. You can dump it in the same HD folder or attach as an HD file in FS-UAE. Whichever comes easier to you.

Create a drawer (Amiga Key + N) called WORK on your virtual hard drive where we installed the WB (retroWoork), Now, launch the Asm-One setup.

When you are asked where to drop the files, chose WORK: drawer, if you don’t see it, is because the setup didn’t pick the hard drive as device but the assigned folders (logical assigments). Scroll up to find it.

Move forward with the installation.

Closing

We followed a very mechanical procedure but at this point, we’re almost out of the woods. We have installed the foundational pieces to make our life a lot easier in future. Asm-One is in place and this is the best guide you can find at the time of this editing. Open that bottle of wine now!

Next time, we’re going to configure the environment and explore the key options offered by the IDE.

Have fun and keep retroing.

#A99

Mario Esposito

Published 6 years ago