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                            Review: Disect v1.7
  Marc Kelly                                     dave@twilite.demon.co.uk
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[Note: The author of this piece is involved with the development and
maintenance of this product.  We felt the review was informative enough to
merit printing.  -Jason]

Edited & Submitted by Bill Westhead.

If you would like further information regarding this product, or would like 
to contact the author or Marc, please send mail to dave@twilite.demon.co.uk

Product: Disect version 1.7
Type   : Debugger / Dissasembler
Author : D.M.Alderson   (DMA)

Disect is a comprehensive debugger / disassembler.  Compared to the main
competition, which must be HiSoft's Monam debugger, it's years ahead in
terms of features. First off is it's symbol handling; point and click to
define various type of symbols; data, instruction, ascii text and others.
Also,  when dealing with instructions, that reference structures via an 
address register, it will display a list of all the available labels that 
fit the offset to be used. It will scan a .gs preassembled symbol file as
produced by Devpac. Macros are included to handle repeated operations and 
so is a memory monitor.  It'll load virtually any type of data file from 
normal executables to raw binary. 

The interface comes as a shock after having used Monam for many years. 
It's full WB2 style layout is Commodore Style Guide compliant & features 
Underscores, Cycle gadgets and Check boxes. Menus are also included, but 
are only accessed when the mouse is in the menu bar, as the right mouse 
button is used to jump to the destination effective address of instructions.

There are however problems with such a rich interface. Mostly the one of 
distractions; you tend to feel it's cluttered at times. Also it doesn't 
handle mode promotion well. The screen is a fixed size so opening on a 
Gfx card at 800x600 results in only the upper left side of it being used,
a large display of memory and source would be nice.

As it stands you get the most out of it when disassembling rather than
debugging. The focus is on the source not the cpu registers, which are
assigned a window at the lower left. Memory is displayed in the lower 
right. All the 68000's registers are displayed but users of higher spec'd 
machines are not catered for; FPU and MMU registers are not displayed. 
68020 address modes and instructions, apart from: CAS, CAS2, CALLM, RTM, 
PACK, UNPK are but again FPU and MMU ones are disassembled into binary 
data. 

Apart from the problems of being stuck in Pal mode and the slight 
clutteredness that it induces this has to be the most versitile tool that 
any programmer will ever use. Even if you own HiSoft's Devpac package and
use Monam it's still worth the sharewere fee because disassembling with 
Disect is far less painless.

Overall, as a simple debugger, it's not as easy to use as others; but if 
you want more than a "simple" tool then this is it.

The latest version of Disect (v2.0b) is available from any aminet site.

eg. ftp://sunsite.doc.ic.ac.uk:/pub/aminet/dev/debug/Disectv20b.lha (283158)