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by Stewart Venit
California State University Los Angeles

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Concise Prelude to Programming:
Concepts and Design, Second Edition

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Extended Prelude to Programming:
Concepts and Design, Second Edition

Both the Concise and the Extended Prelude to Programming: Concepts and Design, Second Edition, are intended for use in a language-independent, introductory programming course. The purpose of the text is, in a language-free context, to help students learn

  1. General programming topics, such as the use of data types, control structures, files, arrays, and subprograms.

  2. Structured programming principles, such as top-down modular design and proper program documentation and style.

  3. How to use certain basic tools and algorithms, such as data validation, defensive programming, calculating sums and averages, and searching and sorting lists.

  4. About other programming paradigms, such as object-oriented and event-driven programming.

No prior experience with computers or programming is necessary, nor is any special knowledge of mathematics, finance, or any other discipline.

Table of Contents

Both the Concise and Extended versions include these chapters:

   A Brief History of Computers
   Computer Basics
   Software and Programming Languages

Chapter 1    An Introduction to Programming
   1.1  What Is Programming?
   1.2  Basic Programming Concepts
   1.3  Data Processing and Output
   1.4  Data Types

Chapter 2    Developing a Program
   2.1  The Program Development Cycle
   2.2  Program Design
   2.3  Coding, Documenting, and Testing a Program
   2.4  Structured Programming
   2.5  An Introduction to GUIs and OOP

Chapter 3    Selection Structures: Making Decisions
   3.1  An Introduction to Selection Structures
   3.2  Relational and Logical Operators
   3.3  Selecting from Several Alternatives
   3.4  Applications of Selection Structures
   3.5  Focus on Problem Solving

Chapter 4    Repetition Structures: Looping
   4.1  An Introduction to Repetition Structures
   4.2  Counter-controlled Loops
   4.3  Applications of Repetition Structures
   4.4  Nested Loops
   4.5  Focus on Problem Solving

Chapter 5    Sequential Data Files
   5.1  Sequential File Basics
   5.2  Modifying a Sequential File
   5.3  Merging Sequential Files
   5.4  Focus on Problem Solving

Chapter 6    Arrays: Lists and Tables
   6.1  One-dimensional Arrays
   6.2  Searching and Sorting Arrays
   6.3  Other Uses of Arrays
   6.4  Two-dimensional Arrays
Focus on Problem Solving

Extended Prelude, Second Edition, has these three additional chapters:

Chapter 7    More on Program Modules and Subprograms
   7.1  Data Flow Diagrams and Parameters
   7.2  More on Subprograms
   7.3  Functions
   7.4  Recursion
   7.5  Focus on Problem Solving

Chapter 8    More on OOP and GUIs
   8.1  Classes and Objects
   8.2  More on Object-oriented Programming
   8.3  Graphical User Interfaces Revisited
   8.4  Event-driven Programming
   8.5  Focus on Problem Solving

Chapter 9    Additional Topics
   9.1  Random Numbers
   9.2  The ASCII Code
   9.3  More on Sorting and Searching
   9.4  An Introduction to Direct-Access Files
More on Direct-Access Files

The first four chapters should be covered prior to any of the others, but Chapters 3 and 4 are independent of one another, and may be taught in either order. Similarly, once the core material (Chapters 1–6) has been covered, Chapter 7, 8, or 9 could be presented next. (We recommend, however, that Section 7.1 be considered a prerequisite for Chapter 8 and that Section 7.5 be read prior to Section 8.5.) Chapter 9 consists of four separate topics, and any of these can be skipped without affecting the others.

Many sections throughout the text are optional as well, and may be omitted if so desired. In particular, the sections entitled Focus on Problem Solving develop relatively complex program designs, which some instructors may find useful to illustrate the chapter material and others may elect to skip to save time. Many other sections contain special and/or advanced material, and may be skipped as well at the discretion of the instructor.

Click for more details.

Changes in the Second Edition
The second edition has been revised throughout to provide a better vehicle for both teaching and learning the concepts of programming. The major changes are:

  • The number of exercises has been increased substantially. In particular, the number of Review Exercises has grown by 25% (to 406) and the number of Reading Check exercises and Programming Problems have been increased as well (to 194 and 66, respectively).

  • Chapter 1 has been completely revised. The three-section “introduction to computers” that began the first edition has been moved to a self-contained Introduction in the second edition. Moreover, material has been added in the new Chapter 1 to provide a gentler introduction to programming and more information about data types and declaring variables.

  • The beginning of Chapter 2 has been rewritten to explain the concept of the program development cycle in more detail and with greater clarity.

  • Selection structures (Chapter 3) are now covered before repetition structures (Chapter 4). In fact, these two chapters are now virtually independent of one another, and may be taught in either order.

  • Chapter 5 of the first edition covered several topics, including sequential data files. The new Chapter 5 is devoted solely to sequential files. This change enhances the independence of Chapters 5 and 6, so that arrays may be taught prior to data files if so desired.

  • The last chapter of the second edition contains four independent topics (random numbers, the ASCII code, additional searching and sorting techniques, and direct-access files), any of which may be inserted into the course at the appropriate point as time and inclination permit.

  • A Study Skills feature has been added to the second edition. This feature, which is located within the summary for every chapter, provides guidelines to improve the student’s study skills in various ways. Each chapter’s Study Skills has a different theme; for example, Getting the Most Out of Class, Writing Programs, Using the Textbook, and so on.

Click for sample study skills.

  • The second edition contains numerous illustrations depicting the “cool technology” of the Victorian era, which we hope will make the text more inviting to read.

Concise Prelude to Programming, Second Edition,
ISBN 1-57676-116-9, 220 pages

Extended Prelude to Programming, Second Edition,
ISBN 1-57676-132-0, 420 pages

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