|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ENGLISH ★ GETTING STARTED WITH BASIC AND LOGO ON THE AMSTRAD PCWS ★|
|Getting Started with Basic and Logo on The Amstrad PCWS||Littérature English|
Getting Started is aimed at those PCW users who feel a fatal fascination for programming. It sets out to cover the fundamentals of both the languages supplied with the PCW - Mallard BASIC and DR LOGO.
It is possible that Mr. Wilson is a teacher or some kind of instructor, since the whole tone is very much textbook-like. The prose is rather dry, and things tend to be introduced theoretically rather than practically. For example, the opening chapter of the book is on binary arithmetic - OK, computers do work this way, but the whole point of programming languages like BASIC is that you don't have to know about it.
Programming in BASIC has been done to death in many other books, and frankly much better than here. One problem is that all the example listings are typeset, not reproduced from PCW printouts, so there are inevitable mistakes and you often can't tell if there is supposed to be a space in a line. Where this book really scores is its coverage of LOGO.
The Amstrad manual disposes of LOGO in a very few pages, and much of the information in that is either too sketchy to be useful or just plain wrong. LOGO is best known for its ‘turtle' graphics system, but it is actually quite a powerful language, and many universities use it extensively in their Artificial Intelligence courses.
Getting Started deals with the graphics side first of all, and prints several useful diagrams showing how the screen co-ordinates are numbered for LOGO. It then goes on to cover the parts of LOGO that other books can't reach - the commands for storing things in lists and retrieving them. It is these areas of LOGO that appeal to Artificial Intelligence programmers - they are similar to the facilities offered by LISP (if you know of that language).
LOGO would really only be used as a hobby. For practical applications, BASIC is usually easier and faster to use, but if you do want to learn LOGO (most likely for its high resolution graphics facilities) you could do a lot worse that this book. It isn't a light read, but there's a lot of information packed in. Those who will get the most from it are people who know a modicum of BASIC programming and want to pick up LOGO as a second language.