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Programming in Prolog: Using the ISO Standard 5th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3540006787
ISBN-10: 3540006788
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews of the fifth edition:

"This is the fifth and the most recent edition of a legendary book … . It was probably the first introductory Prolog book and it is still the most gentle introduction to Prolog for everyone, including non-computer scientists. … the book is as great as ever as an introductory text for Prolog. When a newbie asks for an introduction to Prolog, the best advice is still Clocksin & Mellish." (Bart Demoen, TLP-Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, Vol. 5 (3), 2005)

From the Back Cover

Originally published in 1981, this was the first textbook on programming in the Prolog language and is still the definitive introductory text on Prolog. Though many Prolog textbooks have been published since, this one has withstood the test of time because of its comprehensiveness, tutorial approach, and emphasis on general programming applications.

Prolog has continued to attract a great deal of interest in the computer science community, and has turned out to be the basis for an important new generation of programming languages and systems for Artificial Intelligence. Since the previous edition of Programming in Prolog, the language has been standardised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and this book has been updated accordingly. The authors have also introduced some new material, clarified some explanations, corrected a number of minor errors, and removed appendices about Prolog systems that are now obsolete.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 5th edition (October 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540006788
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540006787
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pros:
- Even someone with no programming or math knowledge could pick up the book, read it, and learn Prolog
- Uses ISO-Prolog
- Large section of helpful example programs

Big Cons:
(I'll give citations, only from the first 100 pages to keep things short, lest anyone think I am lying about the problems with the book)
- Frequent syntax errors *in program statements* - in Prolog, every comma and period is absolutely essential, when they are missing it entirely changes the meaning of the statement - the book misses them pretty routinely (p 81, twice)
- Frequent logic errors - in Prolog, the order of facts and rules is extremely important. The book commonly mixes things up, presenting you with programs that will not work (p 56 - note here that they are trying to give an example of what will/won't work, and they get it backwards)
- Frequent editing/formatting errors - charts, diagrams etc are fairly often on the wrong page or in the wrong location, etc. (p 48)
- Poor organization - looking through the table of contents, you would think the book is extremely well organized, but as you read it, you'll find new and important ideas thrown into random sections - if you forget something, and need to find it later, you'll probably need to re-skim the entire book. Things are almost never presented in convenient bullets/numbering, almost always in paragraph form, again, making essential ideas tedious to find.
- Confusing - I have degrees in math and computer science, and have been programming for 15 years, and I still found parts of the book hard to follow - note that it had nothing to do with Prolog itself, which is actually very straightforward, but rather with the explanations given, which sometimes seem meandering and poorly worded.
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Format: Paperback
Prolog is a complex subject, especially for someone not well familiar with mathematical logic. Thus, it is very important how the foundation would be laid down. Typically the books I had read on Prolog tend to two extremes. They are either too condensed for such a complicated subject as logical programming, or too broad and mathematically intensive. I would put this book into the first category. Though very concise and well structured, this book does not seem to be a good primer. I would rather recommend the book of Ivan Bratko "Prolog Programming for Artificial Intelligence (International Computer Science Series)" 2nd edition (the third edition of this book is due in August 2000). Ivan Bratko had managed to find the optimal style of presenting both the essence and the practical aspects of the language. Bratko's book covers various practical applications of the language and manages to convey the basic concepts of Prolog without overwhelming the beginner with too abstract or too condensed passages.
Nevertheless, "Programming in Prolog" could be a very good programming reference once you are relatively comfortable with the language.
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I went with the reviews that stated that this is the gold standard for learning Prolog and I was not disappointed. While some books on code have you searching for better, working examples on Google; this introduction included all working code organized in a logical and thoughtful manner. Only criticism I would have is that it goes on a little long at times on the theory of the workflow in Prolog, although there may be some people out there who are really interested in this aspect. If you are interested in logic programming at all pick this book up.
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This is the "KnR" of Prolog programming. It has the same diversity of style that some people who might want a "how to program Prolog in 24 hours" approach won't appreciate. It covers the basis of the language however in a way that ties together, as all good programming reference books do, the fundamental reasoning that went into the language and how to use it effectively in the way it was meant to be. Great to read on Kindle app.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a great introduction to learning prolog. I was learning prolog for neurolinguistics and AI applications. I have some facility with programming, python and C++, but am not a pro and it is not my day job by any means. I found this to be a very good basic introduction to prolog. There are a few typos, and a part on data structures where the commentary and the code it's on are switched. The book also loses pace and points and has to be plowed through. But on the whole, an excellent solid book to learn prolog a little.
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Programming in Prolog is a clear, precise introduction to Prolog from the ground up.

While is does start with the basics, it is an incredibly thorough text, covering all minutia of the language. The text is clear, easy to understand, and to the point, moving quickly through topics without sacrificing understanding.

I used this book as a supplementary text in an upper-division college course. After reading only the first four chapters, I knew things about the language that the instructor did not.
I highly recommend this book to any programmer of any skill level that is interested in learning the Prolog programming language.

Additionally,
The following two books were recommended in the preface of Programming in Prolog. The first as a quicker (though not as complete) overview for the experienced programmer, and the second as a language reference.
Clause and Effect: Prolog Programming for the Working Programmer
Prolog: The Standard: Reference Manual
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