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Learning to Program with Alice 3rd Edition, Kindle Edition
This is the eBook of the printed book and does not include any media, Website access codes or print supplements that come packaged with the bound book.
Learning to Program with Alice, 3e is appropriate for all one-semester pre-CS1 and computer literacy courses, and for integration into the first weeks of many introductory CS1 courses. It also serves as a useful how-to guide for introductory programmers interested in learning Alice
Alice was designed to make programming concepts easier to teach and learn. In the Third Edition of Learning to Program with Alice, Alice’s creators offer a complete full-color introduction to the interactive Alice programming environment. The authors make extensive use of program visualization to establish an easy, intuitive relationship between program constructs and the 3D graphics animation action in Alice. Readers discover how Alice blends traditional problem-solving techniques with Hollywood-style storyboarding. Fundamental object-oriented programming concepts and language syntax are taught independently. Programming concepts can be taught from either an objects-first or an objects-early approach, with an optional early introduction to events. The book’s Java-like syntax allows students to view their program code, simplifying their transitions to Java, C++, C#, or other object-oriented languages. This new edition includes over 60% revised exercises and a "sneak peek" at Alice 3.0.
About the Author
Stephen Cooper is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Saint Joseph's University. He taught previously at Rivier College, serving as Computer Science program director. He has also worked at IBM as a systems programmer. Dr. Cooper's research interests lie in the semantics of programming languages as well as in program visualization. He is the author or co-author of a dozen articles, and has been the principal investigator for several National Science Foundation and private grants.
Randy Pausch is a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon, where he is the co-director of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. He has done Sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and Electronic Arts (EA), and has consulted with Disney on user interfaces for interactive theme park attractions and with Google on user interface design. Dr. Pausch is the author or co-author of five books and over 70 articles, is the director of the Alice software project, and has been in zero gravity.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B008VIXG8Q
- Publisher : Pearson; 3rd edition (April 13, 2011)
- Publication date : April 13, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 26180 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Up to 2 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Sticky notes : Not Enabled
- Print length : 371 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,223 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
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========What Is Actually In Alice=====================
World Methods- Methods that are written using calls from the world
Object-Level Methods- Methods that are written using objects instead world
Parameters- Substitute Information that can be used to associate an object.
Events- Interactive User Input and If/else.
Functions- Additional information on an object. Includes Distance, Math.
If/Else- True or False
Object-Tree- The objects in Alice
Add Objects- To add Objects
He/She Builder- Add own objects
There are significant problems in the book.
===1.1 Not enough examples are provided in the relevant topics in the book.===
It is not until near the end of the book into chapter 8 when concepts are finally discussed in a walk-through tutorial for beginners. Why this wasn't introduced in the book starting near the beginning could have avoided the headaches noted below.
==1.2 Lack of in-depth insight and examples in this book and on the official website=======
The CD that comes with Alice only contains selected exercise props of the stage in each chapter with some exercises missing. There is a substantial lack of information on Alice including on the main website. For a book which boasts about 'visually learning' it is strongly lacking in help department which is rendered virtually non-existent. What is the point of any text that claims to teach programming, yet is so vague that it cannot provide its own official help on its website?
===2.3 Guessing Game==========
The exercises are design in a way with very little to no lead on what the final results are actually suppose to look like besides subtle hints. Depending on the engagement of this course in your college and or professor teaching methods this can be a make or break. Some colleges don't even offer tutoring help with this course, which renders the Alice-Programming a joke.
2.1 There is a glitch problem introduced in chapter 1. If you put two methods, say "spider robot moves forward" and then "spider robot moves backwards" in a Do-Together, they cancel each other out.
2.2 The second is the repeat of previously done examples in newer chapters.
The book has a tendency to jump back to earlier chapters done before. The alien and robot exercise from Ch.1 is referred back multiple times in much later chapters as the prime example in the book.
======Lengthy Animation Process====
Referring to 2.3, following the excises to the T does not mean that they will work. This will become tedious as Alice is written in a way which requires a line of code for each animation process and one of the other main problems with this program. Pieces of legs, arms,fingers,ears,and feet must be turned with every command just to position a model or a jumbled mouse-sensitive tumble feature. As a user with experience with animation programs like Blender and Maya, I found the functionality not up to par.
In Chapter 4 Alice has an exercise called Gallop and Jump. Quote straight from the text "Kelly (People) has entered an equestrain show as an amateur jumper. She is somewhat nervous about the competition so she and the horse (Animals) are practicing a jump. Create an initial scene with a horse and rider facing a fence (Buildings), as shown below."
+Insert Stage Prop Picture Here+
"Write two world-level methods, one named gallop (horse and rider gallop forward one step) and another named jump (horse and rider jump the fence). In the gallop method, the horse's front legs should lift and then go down as the back legs lift and the horse moves forward. Then the back legs should go back down. The jump method should be similar, but the horse should move up far enough to clear the fence in mid-stride."
Sounds simple enough yes? It should be, but not as quiet.
Here is what's going on. Each individual action takes a line of code.
We have two world level methods, one name gallop one name jump.
The horse legs will contain a total of four lines of code. One to animate the front legs, and the other to animate the back. One line of code will be used for the move method. This is where topic 2.1 kicks in. The legs will not, I repeat, will not animate correctly if you just go by what the book says as ironically as that is. Even with solving 2.1 the legs will still not animate properly and you will have a horse that will either have immobile legs or move after the leg animation completes itself or the legs will drag even with speeding up the duration to half a second. In total you will have at-least 8 or 9 lines of code total for this one exercise including the Jump Method that will not work individually but must be placed either inside Do-Together, Do-In-Orders inside these two world methods. This is one of the other main frustrations that this book presented and could have been avoided if the book had demonstrations of the end-chapters or has given a clue to what method to use besides a very select subtle hints in other exercises.
====Jumping around Topics====
Refer to 2.3 The book has a tendency to stay on one topic/exercise, jump to the next, move onto a new complete topic, then jump to the next in semi-disorganization. For example in chapter four object-level methods are not needed until chapter 5. Is-Showing is not needed until later chapters that require items to disappear or vanish to work. Some exercises are referred back to 2 or 3 times in later-on chapters instead of newer exercises, and some concepts are introduced a bit too early when they should have been in later chapters. The harder concepts are actually introduced earlier in the book which could have been made much more simpler.
For example,in the earlier chapter 1-4 Alice has users call lengthy world-methods multiple times or methods for each individual action as its written in the book. Some exercises were written with a world-call requirement of 8 times! Then the book drops in a shorter way combining world methods under objects and actions with events and functions without having to call them 8 times individually after 4 chapters of the tedious way.
====2.3 Cruddy Interface ====
The other issue is the the use of the camera.
Unlike other modern programs alice slowly "Scrolls" if you hold down the mouse button, which doesn't make locating objects much fun. There's a camera-drop feature but that depends initially on where the camera is placed from the start, and if your object isn't in "view" on the 3D window, there's no way to immediately find it besides sending it to the position point. There is no zoom-in feature, no gliding left to right like in other 3D applications, and it is very easy for objects to get lost if they happen not to be on the origin point or are too small.
1. Introduces the programmer briefly to terminology used in the real-world programming. Very brief discussion over flow-charts in chapter 1 and other terminology in later chapters.
2. Concepts such as parameters, functions, and methods are introduced and are used throughout the course. These are part of algorithms but is mostly Algebra and basic math functions.
1. Clunky/Outdated interface:
-Lack of a scroll feature/very slow to snail-like camera motions. No target,zoom-in only "drop camera" methods of fail.
2. Exercises are written in a way to make beginners guess a lot in coding, which can be frustrating as it is easy to get jammed and find no solutions. Sometimes methods do not work even though they are written logically due to the limitations of this software. Trial and error is not always the best teaching method and Alice has been designed to make coding tedious for simple tasks most in part due to the animation sequences.
2.1 A product with non-existent official help or support.
2.2 Cannot delete segments of a code line that has been written. The top line of code must be thrown into the Alice trash-can or deleted. Only the first initial code can be changed with a 'change-to' right click. Do together's can be dissolved but the code inside kept.
3.1 Alice 2.2 related bugs. Will encounter "error cannot continues", objects will sometimes randomly flatten, squish-out at will or crash when using higher-levels of coding. The program will ask on default to save information every 15 minutes because of such. I have discovered while running a loop with four or more objects at the same time in Alice can cause it to strain and crash. These problems seem to be addressed in Alice 3.1
3.2 *WARNING* There is an issue with alice on the forums randomly corrupting .aw2 files. I have ran into this issue once and nearly lost project work due to it.
5.1 Text used in replace of demonstrations seems to fill out page space limits than learning.
5. Positioning an object piece by piece by method-commands is an unavoidable task. I have seen one gentlemen write 20 lines of code for a single realistic walking animation that would provide more or less coding in other applications.
7.Kindergarten like graphics may be a turn off.
11. The actual programming of Alice is hidden behind the drop-and-down-menu.Use "print" to see the formatted language.
12. The CD contains only stage-props and sound library.
13. The official Alice website is a user-generated PhP forum with low activity. If you are stuck you and you will be at some points, out of luck.
15. Some of the drop/and/drop features don't work initially, requiring 'place-holders' first before a line of code can be used. The book often does not mention these parts which can be the make or break of creating a code in the first place.
16. An Old, outdated, tediously craptastic program from 1999. See Wikipedia for more information.
THE THREE MAJOR DOWNSIDES ARE AS FOLLOWED:
1. *NO* Tutorial Videos or further information is available about Alice. This also includes the official Alice.org website. The videos that are available are limited user-generated movies scattered upon the forums with limited information and are random on different websites.
2. A program that was design for middle-schooler's hardly anyone has heard of. Ask them Alice-Programming for results.
3. Can be random, disorganized and tedious to work with.
Due to the limitations mentioned above in this book, I would not recommend Alice nor is the material worth the $80 price tag, considering that the program itself is a freebie. I believe the experience in learning this book would have been much more tolerable and engaging if tutorials and support were available from the start. Lot of trial and error, redoing codes multiple times, getting animations to work and details left out in a topic-jumping format made Alice no fun. Not a very good introductory book to programming. Avoid this outdated time waster.
"Starting Out with Alice, A Visual Introduction to Programming" by Tony Gaddis published is more relevant in the fact the book takes initiative to show how to use Alice, but to also provide examples in the book of the concepts discussed without half of the guessing annoyances "Learning to Program with Alice" can cause. Comments are provided in the book with clearer picture illustrations, diagrams nearly on every page, and shows where to use place-holders to write a code in a more organized and readable format. Also includes a CD with videos by Cengage Publishers.
But i will say this book had some kinda fun activities. If your buying it for other than school purposes don't bother This version of Alice is out dated anyway get something with the 3d version :P
If you've never heard of Alice or just have a general interest in it's capabilities, I'd suggest you download the program from the web first (it's free from CMU) and see what you think of it. If it interests you and seems to fit your needs (note you can't output standard video files such as .mov and/or .avi and the .html output is buggy), then invest in one of the texts.