The Basic primer. (book reviews) Susan Glinert-Cole.
Two Books on Basic
For the last less intrepid who are casting about for an easy way to learn Basic, two excellent choices have appeared on the market. They were field tested for me by two people with no programming experience and were found to be enjoyable, educational, and well engineered.
The Basic Primer by Marilyn Davis, published by IBM, is a software package in the IBM Personal Computer Educational Series. It is designed to be a book on a disk and it keeps some of the airs and graces of a book about it--like page numbers and an index. The medium of course, makes it more than just a book; it is really a series of interactive lessons, or pages, which take the user from the very simple to the moderately difficult concepts of the Basic language. The graphic screens are beautifully done and make excellent use of color (if you have it available).
Error recovery, as one should expect in a package designed for beginners, is also excellent. The field tester got confused a couple of times and wailed for assistance, but I steadfastly pretended to be absorbed in counting the leaves on a begonia, and he eventually got back on track himself.
Because of its interactive nature, the package can stand pretty much by itself. The set-up instructions are quite clear about making a backup copy in the true IBM format. It would be equally enjoyable for children and adults, as the user can set the pace for advancement, but it is interesting enough to hold the attention of an adult. Be warned: the music lessons appear early on in the tutorial, so prepare yourself for an evening of beeps and atonal tone poems.
Review Grade: A