IBM Basic assembly language

IBM Basic Assembly Language

IBM Basic assembly language

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BAL (Basic Assembly Language) is a low-level language used on IBM mainframes from the earliest 360 series, through systems 370, 390 and z/Series, as well as the Univac 90/60, 90/70 and 90/80 mainframes made by Sperry Corporation. The earliest version was provided with the System/360 in 1964; the latest version is known as the IBM High Level Assembler . Programmers utilizing this family of assemblers refer to them as ALC, for Assembly Language Coding, or simply "assembler".

A note on the name

Properly speaking, "Basic Assembly Language" was the name of the extremely restricted dialect designed to be assembled on early System/360 machines with only 8KiB of main memory, and only a card reader, a card punch, and a printer for input/output: thus the word "Basic". However, the full name and the initialism "BAL" somehow almost immediately attached themselves in popular use to all assembly-language dialects on the System/360 and its descendants.

General characteristics

The architecture of IBM mainframes has taken many forms over the years, including System/360, System/370 XA, ESA/390, and z/Architecture. Each of these architectures has retained compatibility with most of the features of its predecessor. BAL uses the native instruction set of these machines. It is thus closer to the hardware than third-generation languages such as COBOL.

The instruction set consists of the low-level operations supported by the hardware, such as
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