Amstrad Computer User1st September 1986
Published in Amstrad Computer User #22
The package comes as either a ROM, disc or tape with a 50 page manual.
I used the ROM version which has a few more commands than the disc version as well as giving you more room for text.
The latest versions are now compatible with all types of ROM boards.
Before you even start using the ROM as an assembler it has some useful commands
|HELP will list all the ROMs plugged in and followed by a number will list the commands in it.
You can also make Maxim invisible as well as other ROMs with MAXOFF or ROMOFF followed by a list of ROMs to turn off.
The manual is written clearly with several example program to show the increases in speed between Basic and machine code.
Maxam will allow you to assemble programs which are stored in REM statements in a Basic program, which means you can use all the normal Basic editing commands if you are used to them, but you may find formatting the text slightly awkward as the Tab key doesn't work in Basic.
By far the best way is to enter |Maxam and use the editor there. From the menu there are options to enter the text editor, disassemble, list memory, page ROMs in and out, move, relocate and compare blocks of memory.
This is really the monitor end of Maxam and is quite limited.
Although there are the options mentioned, there is no way of tracing a routine or of putting in breakpoints, other than the somewhat awkward way of putting in a RST 6, remembering the byte you replace and executing the code from the editor part of Maxim.
This will show you the present instruction and the state of all the registers. This method is a long way of using the only option available which is to insert ORK instructions in your text when you assemble it, but it does work.
The search for bytes option. although useful, is very slow. Whereas Mona will search for three bytes through all of memory in about three seconds. Minium takes nearly 30 but does provide a more comprehensive search with wikicards.
The editor part of the system is excellent and very easy to use. It is a screen editor which works in either Mode 1 or 2 and Arnor has patched the print routine to make listing a file very fast.
Although when moving through a file the screen is software scrolled, which is slow, you can move very quickly through the file a page at a time, and can instantly get to the top or bottom of your file.All movement is through the cursor keys using Ctrl and Shift.
One slight criticism is that to do anything to the file, such as search for a string of text and modify it - such as adding line numbers and quotes so it can be loaded from Basic - you have to exit the editor, choose from a menu and return to your text.
It would have been nice to access these options without leaving your text as well as from the menu as some commands are already available in this way. The editor does not format your text on entry so you must TAB it yourself.
Unfortunately pressing the Tab key just puts spaces in which can more than double the size of your file if you're not careful.
Text may be included from disc and code writtsn out in blocks like other packages.
You can assemble 64k with a two-drive system although the same limitations apply with one drive as the other packages.
Single drive users are better off assembling into memory and then saving it out as this gives you more room.
Overall, a very easy to use package that is not quite the complete system Arnor claim, as the monitor is limited, but very convenient to use, especially on ROM.