________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 26. . . . March 9, 2018

cover

I知 an App Developer. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3528-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3514-4 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1934-6 (html).

Subject Headings:
Application software-Development-Juvenile literature.
Android (Electronic resource)-Juvenile literature.
Mobile apps-Juvenile literature.
Mobile computing-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

** /4


cover

I知 a Python Programmer. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3533-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3519-9 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271 1939-1 (html).

Subject Headings:
Python (Computer program language)-Juvenile literature.
Computer programming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

*** /4


cover

I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: The Basics. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3531-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3517-5 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1937-7 (html).

Subject Headings:
JavaScript (Computer program language)-Juvenile literature.
Computer games-Programming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

***1/2 /4


cover

I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: Advanced Coding. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3532-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3518-2 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271 1938-4 (html).

Subject Headings:
JavaScript (Computer program language)-Juvenile literature.
Computer games-Programming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

*** /4


cover

I知 a Scratch Coder. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3529-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3515-1 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271 1935-3 (html).

Subject Headings:
Scratch (Computer program language)-Juvenile literature.
Computer games-Programming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

*** /4


cover

I知 an HTML Web Page Builder. (Generation Code).

Max Wainewright.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2018.
32 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $9.95 (pbk.), $26.95 (List RLB), $21.56 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3530-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3516-8 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1936-0 (html).

Subject Headings:
HTML (Document markup language)-Juvenile literature.
Web sites-Design-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Francis Ngo.

***1/2 /4

   

excerpt:

Painting App
This program is a simple painting app. Users can draw a picture by moving their finger across the screen. Buttons allow them to change a color or clear the screen. To make this app work, we will use a new component called the Canvas, which allows the app to paint using pixels, lines and circles. (From
I知 an App Developer. )

Keyboard Sketcher
The turtle in Python can be programmed to do different things when different keyboard keys are pressed. By making the turtle move up when someone presses the up arrow and down when they press down, we can make a simple drawing program. In this way, we are defining a procedure: creating a new super command that combines other commands. (From
I知 a Python Programmer.)

On the Move
To start coding our own games, we need to use some new techniques. First, we need to add images to the screen. We also need to be able to position the images in the particular places, then make the images move. To make all this work, we will use some HTML code, as well as the JavaScript. (From
I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: The Basics.)

This game is a simple side scrolling game. Rocks will move across the screen from the right, toward a spaceship that is controlled by the player. Pressing the up and down arrows will allow the spaceship to avoid the rocks. Each time the rocks move, a function will check if they have hit the spaceship. The score will be stored in a variable, and will increase each time the spaceship avoids a rock. When you play the game, maximize your screen so the game is bigger and it is easy to avoid the rocks. The complete code for the game is listed on page 23. (From
I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: Advanced Coding.)

Catch the Butterfly
Most computer games use a score to show you how well you have done. This game uses a score to track how many times the cat catches a butterfly. The score will be stored in a special part of the code called a variable. To make the game more realistic, the sprites will also use animation to make it look as though they are running or flying. (From
I知 a Scratch Coder.)

There are many ways you can build a quiz using HTML. We are going to make our quiz really interesting by using some animation to reveal the answer. There is a special feature of SCC that allows us to change a property, such as color, to create animation. We can also use this feature to make the answer spin and reveal itself slowly. (From
I知 an HTML Web Page Builder.)

 

There are six different books in the 敵eneration Code series with each of these titles being authored by Max Wainewright: I知 an App Developer, I知 a Python Programmer, I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: The Basics, I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: Advanced Coding, I知 a Scratch Coder, and I知 an HTML Web Page Builder. This code by numbers series gives readers with little or no coding experience or knowledge the scaffold to build a number of simple beginner programs/apps. The series provides clear, concise step by step instructions to follow and create. This direct modelling of the apps/programs nearly guarantees a successful build every time. However, a basic level of computer competence or skill is required to navigate the menus, install and manipulate the coding environment. Another key to the success of this series are the comments beside or under each line of code on the example pages that provides a clear explanation to the purpose and function of the code. This could be improved by demonstrating or modelling how comments are used in the actual codebase. When using text based programs, this series lists some of the syntax requirements and outlines what characters need to be inserted for each line of code.

     Note: Common practice of many learning to code is copying and pasting entire sections of code into their own codebase and them manipulating it. Some of the projects provide a complete code solution at the end of the project instructions.

     Each book starts will an introduction to the programming language and provides an overview of the tools required to complete the different coding projects. It assumes that the reader痴 computer meets the basic requirements for installing the software required. Next, the books walk the user through a basic tutorial to install the software. Some rudimentary troubleshooting tips are provided, but the main advice directs the reader to support pages of the software. The books contain a table of contents, glossary, index and a basic debugging page or command list page for some errors that reader may encounter when coding. The images and text boxes help the user by providing important tips and advice.

     I知 an App Developer bases its programs on MIT App Inventor. Using block based coding, this book leads a tutorial on building six different apps: a hello app, translator, countdown timer, painting app, tapping game, and photo painter. These tutorials teach the user to pull down the elements, such as buttons, properties and layout to create the user interface, before given the basic code to make the application run. The user experience developing for the Android environment is simplified and runs similarly to other block coding environments. This title could indicate that the app development is for Android and not other platforms such as game iOS, consoles or Windows. The six app tutorials are simple apps that can run either via the Emulator or can be exported to Android devices.

     I知 a Python Programmer bases its programs on the Python Programming language version 3.5. The programs that this book teaches the reader to create are Turtle Graphics (drawing simple shapes), Programming Polygons, Roll the Die, Guess the Number, Random Patterns, Turtle Race, Keyboard Sketcher (Drawing lines with keyboard controls), The Clock, and Hangman. The depth of these tutorials goes beyond simple text and images: from importing different libraries to demonstrating different ways to modify the code, the projects are laid out in manner that makes it easy for beginners to access the code. More experienced coders can use the tips on the side to make more modifications to the code. Full solutions are provided at the end of the project and have line-by-line descriptors.

     I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: The Basics relies on development using the app Sublime Text which has a free evaluation but will require purchase for extended usage. The book makes an attempt to show how JavaScript and HTML work together as different coding languages. In this introductory book, the text goes into detail on how the elements of this language work. This book spends much more time explaining the syntax and purpose each tag over others in the series. From arrays to functions, many coding elements are explained in a simplified manner so that readers can engage with the computational thinking concepts early. This book explains, demonstrates and illustrates the logic and specifics that are not as clear in the other books. The complete solutions do not have the same line-by-line descriptors, but the previous sections explain it all.

     I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: Advanced Coding has projects that are significantly more difficult than the Basics book. The projects now have multiple layers and elements that rely on the lessons taught in the previous book. Here, the text is much denser while maintaining the clear, concise comments and explanations expected in the series. The depth of the text is also changed as the number of items in the Glossary are reduced. This book痴 strength is laying out the code and explaining it line-by-line. The projects now build upon functions that ask the user to follow more closely in order for it to work. The depth of the games now have multiple characters, backgrounds, sounds and other elements.

     I知 a Scratch Coder gives the reader a choice from among nine different programs or concepts to learn and build. Some of the programs are: Ghost Story, Loops, Drumming, and Flying Bird. The graphic heavy block based coding is colour coded, and each line is given an appropriate comment and explanation. It would be beneficial to explain where different blocks can be accessed in the menus as a beginner coder may have some frustration finding where to pull the blocks into the code. The games and concepts vary from simple keyboard commands, to animated sprites and setting variables.

     I知 an HTML Web Page Builder relies on development using the app Sublime Text which has a free evaluation but will require purchase for extended usage. This book lists the instructions to build 12 different elements to make websites. The elements include: headings and paragraphs, colour, images, styles, links, inputs, embedding video, lists, iframes, galleries and quizzes and site planning. The projects provide simple steps and have a running commentary for the code. This book differs from others in the series as each project builds upon the knowledge from previous projects. The end result is a website with enough of the elements that would be used on familiar web interfaces.

I知 an App Developer - Recommended.
I知 a Python Programmer - Recommended.
I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: The Basics - Highly Recommended.
I知 a JavaScript Games Maker: Advanced Coding - Recommended.
I知 a Scratch Coder - Recommended.
I知 an HTML Web Page Builder - Highly Recommended.

Francis Ngo ia a teacher librarian at Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto, ON.



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