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Elementary Basic, as chronicled by John H. Watson

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Henry F Ledgard

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Author: Henry F Ledgard
Publisher: Random House
1 review about Elementary Basic, as chronicled by John...

A great book at the time of publication

  • May 9, 2010
Given that the language used to create the programs is the original Basic, this book can be nothing but outdated. However, at the time it was written it was a jewel and I read and recommended it to the students I had at the time. They were college students in computing and the first course they took was "Programming with Basic." Obviously, this was many years ago.
The book contains a series of problems posed to the great Sherlock Holmes that he solves using the aid of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine (AE). Holmes writes programs in the language Basic that he runs on the AE with the results helping him solve his cases. The programs are then used as examples of the basic structure of Basic, taking you through variables, data types, loops, conditional branching, arrays, file handling and top-down design. All of the documented source code of the solutions is included and presenting them in the context of the popular super-sleuth is a nice twist to what can be a dull subject.
I loved this book when I read it almost twenty years ago and it was a joy to read it again. The Basic programs are incredibly archaic but the manner of the presentation is timeless. Using fiction tales as the setup for the writing of programs was an act of sheer genius.

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