From the Publisher
From the Inside Flap
A knowledge of problem solving and programming concepts is a necessity for those who work with computers, either as programmers or as users. Unfortunately, many students have greater difficulty with problem solving than they do with the syntax of computer languages or applications. Since problem-solving concepts are similar in all languages and applications, students can learn them in one preliminary course. Then, when they move on to language and application courses, both the students and the instructor can concentrate on syntax. This arrangement not only saves time but also decreases frustration for everyone involved, and it improves the success rates of the students.
Although this book is written for students who have little or no computer experience, those who have studied a computer language can benefit from the material. The book is intended for a one-semester introductory course for language or application majors. It can serve as the course textbook or as a supplement. For computer language majors, Units 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 should be emphasized; for application majors, Units 1, 2, 5 (Chapters 13 and 16 only), and 6.
The text provides a step-by-step progression, with detailed explanations and many illustrations, from the basics of mathematical functions and operators to the design and use of such techniques as codes, indicators, control-breaks, arrays, pointers, file updates, report handling, data structures, and object oriented programming. The tools of problem solving, including interactivity (structure) charts, IPO charts, algorithms, and flowcharts, are demonstrated and explained. Putting It All Together sections illustrate the complete solution for a given problem, using the concepts previously presented. In some cases, an earlier solution is updated to incorporate more sophisticated techniques. Throughout the text, problems presented for solution are typical of the business world and provide excellent experience for the students. Organization
Unit One, Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming, presents basic concepts of problem solving, an introduction to how problems are solved on computers, and steps in analyzing a problem and designing an appropriate solution. Unit Two, Structuring Programs for Languages and Applications, examines how and when the various types of logic structures are appropriately used. Unit Three, Data Structures, includes the use of various data structures such as arrays, stacks, linked lists, and binary trees to access and process data. Sort methods and search methods are included in this unit. Unit Four, Object-Oriented Programming, includes elements of object-oriented programming and scripting. Unit Five, File Processing, includes file concepts, sequential-access file processing, and random-access file processing. Unit Six, Problem Solving for Application Software, concentrates on word processing, desktop publishing, graphics, spreadsheets, database management systems, and document processing. The appendices present formulas commonly used in business applications, sort and merge methods, ASCII and EBCDIC codes, blank forms that can be used in designing solutions, and other problem-solving tools. Acknowledgments
I am indebted to those who reviewed the manuscript and offered suggestions and constructive comments. In particular, I thank
Ken Conway, Arapahoe Community College Paula Strozier, Macon Technical Institute
In addition, I wish to thank Rand Ruggeberg, project editor at Custom Editorial Productions and Alex Wolf, production editor at Prentice Hall for their care and patience during the production process.