LISA v2.6

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.