The upcoming CPAN module, Test::Masm::Dos, will be a MASM port for the excellent Test::More module on Perl's land. The approach is to give special meanings to MASM comments so that we can write something like
mov ax, 0ffffh
; is ax, -1, "Test a negative number";
directly in the context of 16-bit MASM source code. The implementation for these smart comments is straightforward too -- expand each comment with a piece of assembly code that implements exactly what the comment says. Hence most of the amazing power the Perl QA Group owns can be brought to the poor 16-bit MASM, a legacy MS-DOS assembly language developed by Microsoft.
Here is a complete (thought still trivial) example:
; tests => 5;
mov ax, 1011011B
; is ax, 91;
mov cx, 5
; say "# cx = ", cx;
; ok cx
Then we could feed it to my masmt script:
masmt -o ~foo.asm foo.asm
where ~foo.asm is a temporary program with all the smart comments expanded by corresponding assembly instructions. So now we can assemble this to an executable named ~foo.exe, which is a MASM tester that produces TAP report!
At this point, I've only implemented the "say" comment. However, my classmates and I have already found it very helpful, especially when debugging our assembly programs. You know, it's really a painful experience to do even simple I/O in MASM!
With smart comments in hand, we can easily realize our dreams of applying Perl's debugging strategy to MASM: tweak, run, and tweak, run!