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ELF sections and the AREA directive

Object files produced by the assembler are divided into sections. In assembly source code, you use the AREA directive to mark the start of a section.

ELF sections are independent, named, indivisible sequences of code or data. A single code section is the minimum required to produce an application.

The output of an assembly or compilation can include:

  • One or more code sections. These are usually read-only sections.
  • One or more data sections. These are usually read-write sections. They might be zero-initialized (ZI).

The linker places each section in a program image according to section placement rules. Sections that are adjacent in source files are not necessarily adjacent in the application image

Use the AREA directive to name the section and set its attributes. The attributes are placed after the name, separated by commas.

You can choose any name for your sections. However, names starting with any non-alphabetic character must be enclosed in bars, or an AREA name missing error is generated. For example, |1_DataArea|.

The following example defines a single read-only section called A32ex that contains code:

       AREA  A32ex, CODE, READONLY ; Name this block of code A32ex