Beginning Programming for Dummies 4th edn

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Sat Dec 9 05:01:54 EST 2006

Well, based on the mentions here I popped over to Amazon and had a copy 
shipped over.  

Don't hold your breath for this to do any good for Revolution.  Or 
Programming.  Or even Computing.  What we have is a series of topics, with 
the most sketchy illustrations imaginable, for each of the following 
platforms:  Liberty Basic, RealBasic, C++, and Revolution.  To give you a 
flavor, we get to p 175, which is about 'storing stuff in arrays' and by the 
end of p 193 we have covered static and dynamic arrays in C, multidimensional 
arrays, and 2D arrays in all of those platforms.  Half or more of these pages 
are occupied by the simplest sorts of scripts - so simple that the 
differences between them are minimal.  If any end user (or maybe anyone else) 
can read these pages and have the slightest idea how to write any useful 
program involving an array, they need not read Beginning Programming, because 
they will have an unusual ability to telepathically obtain howtos from the 
ether.  If only!

What would be a better approach?

Get Dan Shafer's book revised for a third edition, some introductory parts 
slimmed down, a few more details on some of the topics, a few more detailed 
howtos, and put the CD with the express edition with it.  Particularly expand 
the parts about storing, retrieving and deleting data.  There's too much 
about the user interface, and too little about how to write stuff that deals 
with the data which is why the end user is writing the program in the first 

But, small criticisms aside, 'Software at the speed of thought' is really 
excellent for a first introduction for a sophisticated end user.  It is 
everything that the Dummies book is not - it just needs to go a little 
further.  And have the express edition packaged along with it.

Get some detailed material on how to work with arrays, lists, and tables  into 
the Revolution pdf.  

While at it, also get some account of how, given that I have sqlite installed 
already on my Etch machine, I get Revolution to talk to it....  After all, 
there are a host of free Linux apps starting with Kexi and Knoda and Rekall 
that do that.  It seems to be the simplest way to get yourself an external 
data storage without having to fire up a database server.  

Oh dear, Revolution could have done so much better!  Well, others may differ, 
but that was my reaction.  I wouldn't even give this thing to the local 
charity shop, it could put someone off computing for life!


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