Lazerware's Interactive Symbolic Assembler
Lazerware's Interactive Symbolic Assembler (LISA) v2.6 was a 6502
assembler written for the Apple II. The LISA assembler had two
outstanding features: first of all it was interactive. It would
immediately report syntax errors while editing the source file, a
feat no other assembler before or after has totally accomplished
(the INCRA assembler for the PC tried to do this, but it was very
buggy and never worked properly). The other amazing thing about
the LISA assembler was its speed. LISA v2.6 was able to assemble
code in excess of 30,000 lines of assembly per minute. This might
not seem impressive today, but keep in mind that this program was
running on a 1 MHz (yes, one) 8-bit 6502 microprocessor. That
CPU runs about 1,000 times slower (or more) than today's high-end
processors. To put things in perspective, if LISA were running
on a DEC ALPHA or even a fast Pentium Pro system, it would compile
programs at about 30 million lines per minute.
LISA was originally sold by Programma International. When they went
out of business in 1980, Sierra On-Line took over the product.
Sierra sold it for a while and then I started selling it through my
own company, Lazer Microsystems/Lazerware. Finally, Brian Fitzgerald
at Hal Labs updated the product to LISA/816 for the Apple IIgs system.
LISA/816 was a major overhaul adding macros, an interactive screen editor,
and lots of performance enhancements. On a 2.5 MHz 65816 processor,
LISA/816 was assembling code in excess of 150,000 lines/minute.