Assembly Lines: The Complete Book

Assembly Lines: The Complete Book cover

I am very excited to announce that Assembly Lines: The Complete Book is now available as a hardcover from Lulu press. Roger Wagner’s Assembly Lines articles originally appeared in Softalk magazine from October 1980 to June 1983. The first fifteen articles were reprinted in 1982 in Assembly Lines: The Book. Now, for the first time, all thirty-three articles are available in one complete volume. This edition also contains all of the appendices from the original book as well as new appendices on the 65C02, zero-page memory usage, and a beginner’s guide to using the Merlin Assembler. The book is designed for students of all ages: the nostalgic programmer enjoying the retro revolution, the newcomer interested in learning low-level assembly coding, or the embedded systems developer using the latest 65C02 chips from Western Design Center.

The book will be available in a few weeks from Amazon and other online retailers. I am currently working on an eBook version, which I hope to have finished in early 2015.

You can download disk images of all of the assembly-language programs from the Asimov ftp site in the pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler directory:

  • AssemblyLinesWagnerDOS1.DSK contains DOS versions for chapters 1-17
  • AssemblyLinesWagnerDOS2.DSK contains DOS versions for chapters 18-30
  • AssemblyLinesWagnerProDOS1.DSK contains ProDOS versions for chapters 1-17
  • AssemblyLinesWagnerProDOS2.DSK contains ProDOS versions for chapters 18-30

Note that a few of the programs (in the DOS chapter) will only work in DOS, not ProDOS.

To create your own programs, you can download a copy of the Merlin assembler from the same directory:

  • merlin/Merlin-8 v2.48 (DOS 3.3).dsk
  • merlin/Merlin-8 v2.58 (ProDOS) Disk 1-2.dsk

These disk images can be opened in any of the Apple II emulators, such as Virtual ][ for the Mac or AppleWin for Windows. You could also use ADTPro to transfer the disk images to an actual Apple II.

I would love to get your feedback on the new book. If you have any questions or comments on the new book or the original articles, please post them below.

Here's a video explaining more about how the book was created...


Congratulations, Chris! An outstanding job...and Happy New Year!

As we wrap up 2014, the first year of The Softalk Apple Project, we are especially pleased to see such dramatic results as you have accomplished with the long-overdue publication of the complete Roger Wagner's Assembly Lines book.

One of our goals is to have the STAP archive serve as a "honeypot" resource encouraging research and publication, not just of the as-printed content of Softalk magazine, but to wrap that with new related content and storytelling that tells "the rest of the story" of the dawn of the microcomputer and digital age. This additional layer of project activity will contribute context and interpretation that brings this vital piece of our "lived history" to life.

Chris, you were an early and very dedicated volunteer to our project and your publication of the Assembly Lines book is a perfect example of what STAP volunteers can accomplish. We have enjoyed your enthusiasm and, yes, hard work on bringing Roger Wagner's full Assembly Lines "corpus" to life in full "dead trees" and soon eBook format. And we are proud of the small part that we played in helping you with your publishing project.

With this mega-effort behind you, Timlynn and I look forward to some "serious fun" with you in 2015 as we ramp up our archive's activity and put some "meat on the bones" of your title as our first Volunteer Archivist. Your role curating the #LOD (Linked Open Data) resources related to Roger Wagner is one that we're sure you will do just as well and vigorously as you pursued your passion to bring Roger's "lost volume" to those vintage computing enthusiasts who weren't around for the original serial publication. :D :D

Thank you for being part of The Softalk Apple Project.

Happy-Healthy Vibes,
-: Jim :- and Timlynn, too

In His Own Words....

PodCast.jpg In mid-October 2014, The Open Apple Podcast #40, featured an interview with STAP Volunteer Archivist, Chris Torrance on his awesome book project - Assembly Lines: The Complete Book. The book is now in print and available through LULU as noted above. If you want to hear more (in his own words) about how/why Chris took on this project, and about his work with the Softalk Apple Project, check out the podcast and the various links provided that take you deeper into the world of Roger Wagner's Assembly Lines.


p. 6, first sentence, “th e” should be “the”
p. 7, last sentence, "one houndred" should be in italics
p. 339, $F000-$FFFF should be $F800-$FFFF