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Review: Disect v1.7
Marc Kelly email@example.com
[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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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)