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Beginning Programming [Paperback]

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes , Kathie Kingsley-Hughes

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Book Description

April 15 2005 Wrox Beginning Guides
  • Programming allows developers to create a sequence of instructions that enable computers to perform certain functions and tasks
  • Offering the basic best practices and skills for novice programmers, this book helps readers gain new skills for writing programs and developing applications
  • Teaches programming using C++ and explores scripting with JavaScript and VBScript, which are all free and don't require the reader to purchase any software
  • Includes programming projects and real-world code examples that can be modified and expanded upon

Product Details

Product Description


“A welcome addition to Wrox’s Beginning series and a good all-round introduction to programming for novices.” (Publishing News, 25th March 2005)

From the Back Cover

A common misconception about programming is that it can only be done on a professional level by someone with years of experience. This book proves exactly the opposite and provides nonprogrammers with assistance in learning the programming basics that will enable them to eventually become professional developers or programming hobbyists.

Written for anyone who wants to learn to program but who doesn’t have a background in the field, this hands-on guide explains programming through numerous examples in a variety of languages, including C++, Java, VBScript, and JavaScript. All the tools and materials you need are either easily available on the Internet or already installed on your computer. By the time you finish the book, you will have a solid foundation for proficiency in programming computers to perform a diverse number of functions and tasks.

What you will learn from this book

  • How computers read, store, and process code
  • The various essential tools necessary to become an effective programmer
  • Key concepts in programming that are consistent from one programming language to another
  • How to create, modify, and delete files and folders
  • Best techniques for making your applications easy to use
  • How text editors, compilers, and other utilities make coding easier
Who this books is for

This book is for novices who want to learn to program but have little or no programming knowledge or experience.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The history of programming spans more years than most people would imagine. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Beginners Book April 14 2005
By John Matlock - Published on
When the first chapter of a book on programming is titles 'What Is Programming' you get a pretty good idea of the level of the book. Combine this with the title 'Beginning Programming' and you have a pretty good idea of what's it all about.

This book is also set up to allow you to get into programing cheaply. It programs its examples using C++, Java, VBScript and JavaScript (along with a few references to other languages). These languages are available free for downloading over the internet. You also do not need a big, super powerful computer to do programming. Indeed, most of my own programming is done on an old Pentium II - 400 MHz machine that I bought for $55 (well, to be truthful, I added another $15 in memory).

Finally, as the authors point out, after you learn one language you know enough about the general structure of programming to be readily able to move to another language. After a couple of weeks working with this book, you could move up to another language in probably a couple of days.

This is indeed the simple way to get started in programming. I wish I'd had it when I started forty something years ago.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buggier than a porch light. Novice beware! Feb. 18 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is likely to frustrate true beginners. In attempting to work through the excercises, the C++ complier the authors recommend refused to compile the sample code. Two frustrating hours later pursuing solutions on the Borland web site, I managed to create two configuration files, edit my environmental variables, and finally get the code to compile. Such geek gymnastics are certainly beyond most "beginners," and are likely to cause them to give up the whole idea of learning to code.

Shame on Borland for providing a compiler that was apparently never beta tested on XP(!), and shame on Wrox for failing to provide adequate instructions. There are a few answers of varying quality and coherance on their forum, but you shouldn't have to resort to the forum to run the very first compiled program in the book.

If you aren't familiar with how a compiler works BEFORE reading this book, you are likely to run aground sometime around Chapter 7. Save your money.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good foundation Feb. 1 2006
By A. Turner - Published on
I'm a big fan of Wrox. The first computer I ever had way back in 1997 was a Wrox book on HTML. It was clear, concise (-seriously concise-), and not filled with the usual garbage that most computer books are filled with. I'm still building webpages 9 years later.

I'm a bit disappointed with this one, then, because, although it is wonderfully informative and useful, it just doesn't have that same no-nonsense zing that my first did. The book does exactly what it says: gives a good, solid introduction to programming for the beginner. It does its best at instilling enough foundation to create a future programmer who will instinctively follow best practices (drilling in basic concepts like binary, so presumably people won't do dumb things later on like allowing buffer overflows because they can't count). It introduces operators before it ever tells the student to start coding. All in all, it's a gentle, easy to grasp guide to the fundamentals of programming that anyone can understand.

So why the mild disappointment? The main downside to the book in my opinion is that they lean towards dumbing things down -too- much, at least on occasion. A couple of quintessential examples that come to mind early on are:

1) Figure 4.9 - a ridiculous icon of a computer with a magnifying glass in front of it. This is intended to show you "how data is stored in memory." About half the images in the book are completely useless in this regard.

2) Sentences like "Notice that in sci-fi... humans interface with computers and robots using spoken language? Being able to do that now would be sweet!"

Easy is an admirable trait in a book of this sort. Stupid is not. That said, I think the ease and usefulness overall outweigh the occasional absurdity, and I would recommend it to someone who has either had no programming or has tried it but finds themselves totally baffled by it (and who can generally override their innate gag reflex). It does what it says, and for that I suppose it deserves a hearty 4 stars. I just don't have the heart to give it that fifth one.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beginner's book Dec 28 2005
By Carmen N. Garcia - Published on
I bought this book because I didn't know anything about programming. This book is quite good teaching basic concepts. The book explains everything using real world languages like C++, Java, JavaScript and VBScript. So you get an idea of what it means to work with each language and after you are done with the book you can choose the language that you want to learn first in depth. I am not giving it five stars due to several reasons. The first one is that the book contains a lot of grammatical errors which is sometimes annoying. An example of that would be that they repeat the same paragraph twice. Another reason is that sometimes they explained some concepts very superficially and I had to use other books to understand them in a better way. The other reason is that I had trouble installing the Borland C++ compiler using their instructions and later compiling the first program. When I followed their instructions step by step to compile the first program I couldn't do it. I had to look at the Help section of the compiler in the internet. Their instructions are confusing. Another reason is that the chapter about interfaces was very generic. It explains what are the interfaces available in Windows, but it doesn't explain anything about how you can make these. I know that this might be a little bit beyond the scope of the book, but giving a general idea wouldn't be a bad idea. Generally, this is a very good book for people that don't know anything at all of computer programming. Otherwise if you know at least something, a more advanced book will be better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Takes deciphering April 29 2007
By James V. Sylvester - Published on
I am about half-way through the book and I am frustrated with its incomplete references, errors, and ambiguities.

One of the problems I have encountered was getting the recommended C+ compiler to work. That problem is discussed both here and on the WROX website. The book fails to give a simple explanation of how to configure the computer to make it run. Thankfully, I had enough independent knowledge to prepare the required configuration files and to restate the path, but that may not be so trivial for a complete tyro.

There are ambiguities that arise from unqualified uses of "it" and "this." For example, on pages 141-42, there is a suggestion that a very basic block of code be prepared in an editor and saved. The discussion then shifts to compiling the code, but the example provided confusingly shifts to a different file (test.cpp) and then shifts back to the file that started the discussion (template.cpp). The references are imprecise.

There are careless comments such as the one appearing on page 153: "To make the others run, you put all of them in the code." That statement would be clearer if the word "code" was replaced by "in the code for the main function."

There are troubling typographical errors such as the block highlighting on page 164 which should be limited to the first four "cout" and "cin" lines and should exclude the last "cout" line.

Other matters that bug are mismatches between code and the output illustrations. Precise copying of the code on pages 176-177 does not produce the output in the accompanying illustration. The same comment can be made for the material on page 180.

My impression is that this book was not carefully proofed, and precision is essential in any book that purports to be a fundamental, introductory text.

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