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Robert G. Bell.

Scarborough (ON), Prentice-Hall, c1984.
188pp, paper, $10.95.
ISBN 0-13-729830-7.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Jean Farquharson.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

The author, a teacher in a community college, has written this text for beginners to use in conjunction with a course in programming or as a self-study text. In order to serve the student's needs, he believes that explanations of procedures must be thorough. He uses only business-oriented examples. No author is able to cover adequately all makes and models of computers, but Robert Bell deals with this problem by dividing the book into two parts. Part I covers the aspects of BASIC that are very similar for all machines, and Part II includes features that vary from one computer to another. He stresses the need to use the manufacturer's manual in conjunction with this text. His examples are clear and useful. His style is no-nonsense. Flow-charting is used extensively to plan programs or segments of programs.

In Part I (fifteen of the nineteen chapters), each chapter is very methodically organized with an introduction, new vocabulary, explanation by steps, examples, flow charts, a summary and exercises. Numbered headings provide easy searching.

A glossary of terms is included. Appendices include "Debugging a Program," "Built-in Functions," "Arrays," "Comparison of BASIC Dialects," a summary of commands and statements, and reference sheets for users to keep a record of commands for their machine. An index is provided.

Beginners working alone with this text would need as well a good manual for the machine they are using. Frequently the manufacturer's manuals are inadequate, and the beginner becomes thoroughly frustrated. A machine-specific manual such as Peckham's Hands-On BASIC with a Pet or IBM, Apple, or Atari could be used in conjunction with the text.

This is not a fun book for kids. The text is recommended preferably for use in a course for business students or as a reference to supplement less thorough ones.

Jean Farquharson, Brantford C. I. & V. S., Brant ford, ON.
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