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Z80 Syntax

General syntax



There may be still some subtle parser bugs, but it is possible to span instructions and directives on several lines by ending the previous line with \

Labels handling

BASM is quite lax on the z80 format: it does not impose to start a label at the very first char of a line and does not force an instruction or directive to not start at the very first line of a char (behavior stolen to rasm). As a consequence there can be ambiguities between labels and macros. If it fails in properly recognizing macros or label, you can guide it by suffixing label declaration by : or by using (void) for macros with no arguments.

Local labels

    jp outer2
    jp outer2.inner1

    jp .inner1

    ifndef outer1
        fail "outer1 is wrongly undefined"

    ifndef .inner1
        fail ".inner1 is wrongly undefined"

    ifndef outer2.inner1
        fail "outer2.inner1 is wrongly undefined"

module handling

    module module1
    jp module2.label1

    module module2
    jp module3.module31.label1

    module module3
        module module31
        jp ::label1
would generate a binary similar to
    jp label1
    jp label2
    jp label3

Labels generation

Labels can be generated thanks to the content of other ones.


    ifndef label7
        fail "unable to build label with expression"


Here is the list of instructions used to validate BASM:

; Test of assembling of z80 instructions.

    org $0

des equ $05
n   equ $20
nn  equ $0584

    ; Documented instructions
;   ADC
    adc a,(hl)
    adc a,(ix + des)
    adc a,(iy + des)
    adc a,a
    adc a,b
    adc a,c
    adc a,d
    adc a,e
    adc a,h
    adc a,l
    adc a,n

    adc hl,bc
    adc hl,de
    adc hl,hl
    adc hl,sp

;   ADD
    add a,(hl)
    add a,(ix + des)
    add a,(iy + des)
    add a,a
    add a,b
    add a,c
    add a,d
    add a,e
    add a,h
    add a,l
    add a,n

    add hl,bc
    add hl,de
    add hl,hl
    add hl,sp

    add ix,bc
    add ix,de
    add ix,ix
    add ix,sp

    add iy,bc
    add iy,de
    add iy,iy
    add iy,sp

;   AND
    and (hl)
    and (ix + des)
    and (iy + des)
    and a
    and b
    and c
    and d
    and e
    and h
    and l
    and n

;   BIT
    bit 0,(hl)
    bit 0,(ix + des)
    bit 0,(iy + des)
    bit 0,a
    bit 0,b
    bit 0,c
    bit 0,d
    bit 0,e
    bit 0,h
    bit 0,l

    bit 1,(hl)
    bit 1,(ix + des)
    bit 1,(iy + des)
    bit 1,a
    bit 1,b
    bit 1,c
    bit 1,d
    bit 1,e
    bit 1,h
    bit 1,l

    bit 2,(hl)
    bit 2,(ix + des)
    bit 2,(iy + des)
    bit 2,a
    bit 2,b
    bit 2,c
    bit 2,d
    bit 2,e
    bit 2,h
    bit 2,l

    bit 3,(hl)
    bit 3,(ix + des)
    bit 3,(iy + des)
    bit 3,a
    bit 3,b
    bit 3,c
    bit 3,d
    bit 3,e
    bit 3,h
    bit 3,l

    bit 4,(hl)
    bit 4,(ix + des)
    bit 4,(iy + des)
    bit 4,a
    bit 4,b
    bit 4,c
    bit 4,d
    bit 4,e
    bit 4,h
    bit 4,l

    bit 5,(hl)
    bit 5,(ix + des)
    bit 5,(iy + des)
    bit 5,a
    bit 5,b
    bit 5,c
    bit 5,d
    bit 5,e
    bit 5,h
    bit 5,l

    bit 6,(hl)
    bit 6,(ix + des)
    bit 6,(iy + des)
    bit 6,a
    bit 6,b
    bit 6,c
    bit 6,d
    bit 6,e
    bit 6,h
    bit 6,l

    bit 7,(hl)
    bit 7,(ix + des)
    bit 7,(iy + des)
    bit 7,a
    bit 7,b
    bit 7,c
    bit 7,d
    bit 7,e
    bit 7,h
    bit 7,l

;   CALL
    call nn

    call nz,nn
    call z,nn
    call nc,nn
    call c,nn
    call po,nn
    call pe,nn
    call p,nn
    call m,nn

;   CCF

;   CP
    cp (hl)
    cp (ix + des)
    cp (iy + des)
    cp a
    cp b
    cp c
    cp d
    cp e
    cp h
    cp l
    cp n


;   CPL

;   DAA

;   DEC
    dec (hl)
    dec (ix + des)
    dec (iy + des)
    dec a
    dec b
    dec c
    dec d
    dec e
    dec h
    dec l

    dec bc
    dec de
    dec hl
    dec ix
    dec iy
    dec sp

;   DI

;   DJNZ
l1  djnz l1

;   EI

;   EX
    ex af,af'

    ex de,hl

    ex (sp),hl
    ex (sp),ix
    ex (sp),iy


;   HALT

;   IM
    im 0
    im 1
    im 2

;   IN
    in a,(c)
    in b,(c)
    in c,(c)
    in d,(c)
    in e,(c)
    in h,(c)
    in l,(c)

    in a,(n)


;   INC
    inc (hl)
    inc (ix + des)
    inc (iy + des)
    inc a
    inc b
    inc c
    inc d
    inc e
    inc h
    inc l

    inc bc
    inc de
    inc hl
    inc ix
    inc iy
    inc sp

;   JP
    jp nn

    jp (hl)
    jp (ix)
    jp (iy)

    jp nz,nn
    jp z,nn
    jp nc,nn
    jp c,nn
    jp po,nn
    jp pe,nn
    jp p,nn
    jp m,nn

;   JR
    jr $ + $22

    jr nz,$ + $22
    jr z,$ + $22
    jr nc,$ + $22
    jr c,$ + $22

;   LD
    ld (bc),a
    ld (de),a

    ld (hl),a
    ld (hl),b
    ld (hl),c
    ld (hl),d
    ld (hl),e
    ld (hl),h
    ld (hl),l
    ld (hl),n

    ld (ix + des),a
    ld (ix + des),b
    ld (ix + des),c
    ld (ix + des),d
    ld (ix + des),e
    ld (ix + des),h
    ld (ix + des),l
    ld (ix + des),n

    ld (iy + des),a
    ld (iy + des),b
    ld (iy + des),c
    ld (iy + des),d
    ld (iy + des),e
    ld (iy + des),h
    ld (iy + des),l
    ld (iy + des),n

    ld (nn),a

    ld (nn),bc
    ld (nn),de
    ld (nn),hl
    ld (nn),ix
    ld (nn),iy

    ld (nn),sp

    ld a,(bc)
    ld a,(de)
    ld a,(hl)
    ld a,(ix + des)
    ld a,(iy + des)
    ld a,(nn)
    ld a,a
    ld a,b
    ld a,c
    ld a,d
    ld a,e
    ld a,h
    ld a,l
    ld a,n

    ld b,(hl)
    ld b,(ix + des)
    ld b,(iy + des)
    ld b,a
    ld b,b
    ld b,c
    ld b,d
    ld b,e
    ld b,h
    ld b,l
    ld b,n

    ld c,(hl)
    ld c,(ix + des)
    ld c,(iy + des)
    ld c,a
    ld c,b
    ld c,c
    ld c,d
    ld c,e
    ld c,h
    ld c,l
    ld c,n

    ld d,(hl)
    ld d,(ix + des)
    ld d,(iy + des)
    ld d,a
    ld d,b
    ld d,c
    ld d,d
    ld d,e
    ld d,h
    ld d,l
    ld d,n

    ld e,(hl)
    ld e,(ix + des)
    ld e,(iy + des)
    ld e,a
    ld e,b
    ld e,c
    ld e,d
    ld e,e
    ld e,h
    ld e,l
    ld e,n

    ld h,(hl)
    ld h,(ix + des)
    ld h,(iy + des)
    ld h,a
    ld h,b
    ld h,c
    ld h,d
    ld h,e
    ld h,h
    ld h,l
    ld h,n

    ld l,(hl)
    ld l,(ix + des)
    ld l,(iy + des)
    ld l,a
    ld l,b
    ld l,c
    ld l,d
    ld l,e
    ld l,h
    ld l,l
    ld l,n

    ld a,i
    ld i,a

    ld a,r
    ld r,a

    ld bc,(nn)
    ld de,(nn)
    ld hl,(nn)
    ld ix,(nn)
    ld iy,(nn)
    ld sp,(nn)

    ld bc,nn
    ld de,nn
    ld hl,nn
    ld ix,nn
    ld iy,nn

    ld sp,hl
    ld sp,ix
    ld sp,iy
    ld sp,nn


;   NEG

;   NOP

;   OR
    or (hl)
    or (ix + des)
    or (iy + des)
    or a
    or b
    or c
    or d
    or e
    or h
    or l
    or n

;   OUT
    out (c),a
    out (c),b
    out (c),c
    out (c),d
    out (c),e
    out (c),h
    out (c),l
    out (n),a


;   POP
    pop af
    pop bc
    pop de
    pop hl
    pop ix
    pop iy

;   PUSH
    push af
    push bc
    push de
    push hl
    push ix
    push iy

;   RES
    res 0,(hl)
    res 0,(ix + des)
    res 0,(iy + des)
    res 0,a
    res 0,b
    res 0,c
    res 0,d
    res 0,e
    res 0,h
    res 0,l

    res 1,(hl)
    res 1,(ix + des)
    res 1,(iy + des)
    res 1,a
    res 1,b
    res 1,c
    res 1,d
    res 1,e
    res 1,h
    res 1,l

    res 2,(hl)
    res 2,(ix + des)
    res 2,(iy + des)
    res 2,a
    res 2,b
    res 2,c
    res 2,d
    res 2,e
    res 2,h
    res 2,l

    res 3,(hl)
    res 3,(ix + des)
    res 3,(iy + des)
    res 3,a
    res 3,b
    res 3,c
    res 3,d
    res 3,e
    res 3,h
    res 3,l

    res 4,(hl)
    res 4,(ix + des)
    res 4,(iy + des)
    res 4,a
    res 4,b
    res 4,c
    res 4,d
    res 4,e
    res 4,h
    res 4,l

    res 5,(hl)
    res 5,(ix + des)
    res 5,(iy + des)
    res 5,a
    res 5,b
    res 5,c
    res 5,d
    res 5,e
    res 5,h
    res 5,l

    res 6,(hl)
    res 6,(ix + des)
    res 6,(iy + des)
    res 6,a
    res 6,b
    res 6,c
    res 6,d
    res 6,e
    res 6,h
    res 6,l

    res 7,(hl)
    res 7,(ix + des)
    res 7,(iy + des)
    res 7,a
    res 7,b
    res 7,c
    res 7,d
    res 7,e
    res 7,h
    res 7,l

;   RET

    ret z
    ret nz
    ret c
    ret nc
    ret po
    ret pe
    ret p
    ret m


;   RL
    rl (hl)
    rl (ix + des)
    rl (iy + des)
    rl a
    rl b
    rl c
    rl d
    rl e
    rl h
    rl l

;   RLA

;   RLC
    rlc (hl)
    rlc (ix + des)
    rlc (iy + des)
    rlc a
    rlc b
    rlc c
    rlc d
    rlc e
    rlc h
    rlc l

;   RLCA

;   RLD

;   RR
    rr (hl)
    rr (ix + des)
    rr (iy + des)
    rr a
    rr b
    rr c
    rr d
    rr e
    rr h
    rr l

;   RRA

;   RRC
    rrc (hl)
    rrc (ix + des)
    rrc (iy + des)
    rrc a
    rrc b
    rrc c
    rrc d
    rrc e
    rrc h
    rrc l

;   RRCA

;   RRD

;   RST
    rst $00
    rst $08
    rst $10
    rst $18
    rst $20
    rst $28
    rst $30
    rst $38

;   SBC
    sbc a,(hl)
    sbc a,(ix + des)
    sbc a,(iy + des)
    sbc a,a
    sbc a,b
    sbc a,c
    sbc a,d
    sbc a,e
    sbc a,h
    sbc a,l
    sbc a,n

    sbc hl,bc
    sbc hl,de
    sbc hl,hl
    sbc hl,sp

;   SCF

;   SET
label    set 0,(hl)
    set 0,(ix + des)
    set 0,(iy + des)
    set 0,a
    set 0,b
    set 0,c
    set 0,d
    set 0,e
    set 0,h
    set 0,l

    set 1,(hl)
    set 1,(ix + des)
    set 1,(iy + des)
    set 1,a
    set 1,b
    set 1,c
    set 1,d
    set 1,e
    set 1,h
    set 1,l

    set 2,(hl)
    set 2,(ix + des)
    set 2,(iy + des)
    set 2,a
    set 2,b
    set 2,c
    set 2,d
    set 2,e
    set 2,h
    set 2,l

    set 3,(hl)
    set 3,(ix + des)
    set 3,(iy + des)
    set 3,a
    set 3,b
    set 3,c
    set 3,d
    set 3,e
    set 3,h
    set 3,l

    set 4,(hl)
    set 4,(ix + des)
    set 4,(iy + des)
    set 4,a
    set 4,b
    set 4,c
    set 4,d
    set 4,e
    set 4,h
    set 4,l

    set 5,(hl)
    set 5,(ix + des)
    set 5,(iy + des)
    set 5,a
    set 5,b
    set 5,c
    set 5,d
    set 5,e
    set 5,h
    set 5,l

    set 6,(hl)
    set 6,(ix + des)
    set 6,(iy + des)
    set 6,a
    set 6,b
    set 6,c
    set 6,d
    set 6,e
    set 6,h
    set 6,l

    set 7,(hl)
    set 7,(ix + des)
    set 7,(iy + des)
    set 7,a
    set 7,b
    set 7,c
    set 7,d
    set 7,e
    set 7,h
    set 7,l

;   SLA
    sla (hl)
    sla (ix + des)
    sla (iy + des)
    sla a
    sla b
    sla c
    sla d
    sla e
    sla h
    sla l

;   SRA
    sra (hl)
    sra (ix + des)
    sra (iy + des)
    sra a
    sra b
    sra c
    sra d
    sra e
    sra h
    sra l

;   SRL
    srl (hl)
    srl (ix + des)
    srl (iy + des)
    srl a
    srl b
    srl c
    srl d
    srl e
    srl h
    srl l

;   SUB
    sub (hl)
    sub (ix + des)
    sub (iy + des)
    sub a
    sub b
    sub c
    sub d
    sub e
    sub h
    sub l
    sub n

;   XOR
    xor (hl)
    xor (ix + des)
    xor (iy + des)
    xor a
    xor b
    xor c
    xor d
    xor e
    xor h
    xor l
    xor n

    ; Undocumented instructions
; IN
    in (c)      ; DEFB $ED,$70
    in f,(c)    ; DEFB $ED,$70

    out (c)     ; DEFB $ED,$71
    out (c),f   ; DEFB $ED,$71

    sll (hl)
    sll (ix+des)
    sll (iy+des)
    sll a
    sll b
    sll c
    sll d
    sll e
    sll h
    sll l

; IX and IY 8 bits halfs
    add a,ixh
    add a,ixl
    add a,iyh
    add a,iyl

    adc a,ixh
    adc a,ixl
    adc a,iyh
    adc a,iyl

    and ixh
    and ixl
    and iyh
    and iyl

    cp ixh
    cp ixl
    cp iyh
    cp iyl

    dec ixh
    dec ixl
    dec iyh
    dec iyl

    inc ixh
    inc ixl
    inc iyh
    inc iyl

    ld a,ixh
    ld b,ixh
    ld c,ixh
    ld d,ixh
    ld e,ixh
    ;ld h,ixh
    ;ld l,ixh

    ld a,ixl
    ld b,ixl
    ld c,ixl
    ld d,ixl
    ld e,ixl
    ;ld h,ixl
    ;ld l,ixl

    ld a,iyh
    ld b,iyh
    ld c,iyh
    ld d,iyh
    ld e,iyh
    ;ld h,iyh
    ;ld l,iyh

    ld a,iyl
    ld b,iyl
    ld c,iyl
    ld d,iyl
    ld e,iyl
    ;ld h,iyl
    ;ld l,iyl

    ld ixh,a
    ld ixh,b
    ld ixh,c
    ld ixh,d
    ld ixh,e
    ld ixh,ixh
    ld ixh,ixl
    ld ixh,n

    ld ixl,a
    ld ixl,b
    ld ixl,c
    ld ixl,d
    ld ixl,e
    ld ixl,ixh
    ld ixl,ixl
    ld ixl,n

    ld iyh,a
    ld iyh,b
    ld iyh,c
    ld iyh,d
    ld iyh,e
    ld iyh,iyh
    ld iyh,iyl
    ld iyh,n

    ld iyl,a
    ld iyl,b
    ld iyl,c
    ld iyl,d
    ld iyl,e
    ld iyl,iyh
    ld iyl,iyl
    ld iyl,n

    or ixh
    or ixl
    or iyh
    or iyl

    sbc a,ixh
    sbc a,ixl
    sbc a,iyh
    sbc a,iyl

    sub ixh
    sub ixl
    sub iyh
    sub iyl

    xor ixh
    xor ixl
    xor iyh
    xor iyl


Fake instructions

To ease coding, several fake instructions are allowed by BASM. It replaces them by the combination of true instructions.

Here is a subset of the possibilities.


Most accepted fake instructions are missing from the listing

    ld hl, de
    jp hl
    jp ix
    jp iy
    push hl, de, bc
    pop bc, de, hl



Special variables

  • $: get the current code address
  • $$: get the current output address


    assert $ == 0
    assert $$ == 0

    org 0x100
    assert $ == 0x100
    assert $$ == 0x100
    assert $ == 0x101
    assert $$ == 0x101

    org 0x200, 0x300
    assert $ == 0x200
    assert $$ == 0x300
    assert $ == 0x201
    assert $$ == 0x301

Provided functions


Need to document all functions


assemble(str) consider the string str to be a list of instructions (no directives) and returns the list of bytes corresponding to the assembled version of the given string.

    assert list_len(assemble(" nop")) == 1
    assert list_len(assemble(" nop : nop ")) == 2
    assert list_len(assemble("")) == 0


  • duration(instruction) returns the number of nop of the instruction


    ld a, opcode(inc e)
    ld a, opcode(dec e)

Amstrad CPC video handling

  • mode0_byte_to_pen_at
  • mode1_byte_to_pen_at
  • mode2_byte_to_pen_at
  • pen_at_mode0_byte
  • pen_at_mode1_byte
  • pen_at_mode2_byte
  • pens_to_mode0_byte
  • pens_to_mode1_byte
  • pens_to_mode2_byte

List handling

  • list_new
  • list_get(LIST, INDEX)
  • list_set
  • list_len
  • list_sublist(list, start, end) -> list: Return a new list from start until end not included
  • list_sort
  • list_argsort
  • list_push

String handling

  • string_new
  • string_push
  • string_concat
  • string_from_list

Matrix handling

  • matrix_new
  • matrix_set
  • matrix_get
  • matrix_col
  • matrix_row
  • matrix_set_row
  • matrix_set_col
  • matrix_width
  • matrix_height

File handing

  • load(fname) -> list of bytes: return the bytes from the given file name

Memory handling


    org 0x4000
    assert memory(label2) == 4

    db 1, 2, 3

    db 4, 5, 6

    assert memory(label1) == 1
    assert memory(label1+2) == 3

User defined functions

BASM allows to define functions that can be used in any expression. The functions are fed with parameters and execute conditional directives as well as directives able to handle variables. They finish at the execution of the RETURN directive.



Better explain how to build function

Example of the fibonacci function:

    function fibo nb
        if {nb} == 0
            return 0
        else if {nb} == 1
            return 1
            return fibo({nb}-1) + fibo({nb}-2)


    assert fibo(0) == 0
    assert fibo(1) == 1
    assert fibo(5) == 5
    assert fibo(10) == 55

Example of function to handle lists:

    ; Skip the {start} first element of list {l}
    FUNCTION SKIP, l, start
        len = list_len({l})
        if {start} < len
            return list_sublist({l}, {start}, len)
            return []

    ; Take the {amount} first element of list {l}
    FUNCTION TAKE, l, amount
        assert {amount} > 0
        len = list_len({l})
        start = 0
        finish = start + min({amount}, len) ; seems to not work for un unknown reason
        if {amount} > len
            finish = len
            finish = {amount}
        return list_sublist({l}, start, finish)

    ; Reverse list {l}
        new = []
        nb = list_len({l})
        for idx, 0, nb-1
            new = list_push(new, list_get({l}, nb-1-{idx}))
        return new

    assert list_len([1, 2, 3, 4]) == 4
    assert list_sublist([1, 2, 3, 4], 0, 2) == [1,2]
    assert list_sublist([1, 2, 3, 4], 0, 4) == [1, 2, 3, 4]

    ; Various test to check appropriate behavior
    assert SKIP([1, 2, 3, 4], 2) == [3, 4]
    assert SKIP([1, 2, 3, 4], 5) == []

    assert TAKE([1, 2, 3, 4], 2) == [1, 2]
    assert min(4,5) == 4
    assert TAKE([1, 2, 3, 4], 4) == [1, 2, 3, 4]
    assert TAKE([1, 2, 3, 4], 10) == [1, 2, 3, 4]

    assert REVERT([1, 2, 3, 4]) == [4, 3, 2, 1]
    assert list_len(load("hello.sna")) == 4674

    assert list_len(TAKE(load("hello.sna"), 8)) == 8

    assert string_from_list(TAKE(load("hello.sna"), 8)) == "MV - SNA"

    ; Write in memory 8 bytes from the given file
    snapshot = load("hello.sna")
    header_id = TAKE(snapshot, 8)
    db header_id

    ; Check that memory is correctly set
    assert peek(0) == "M"
    assert peek(7) == "A"