Electron User

Data Structures Demonstrator
Acorn Electron

Published in Electron User 2.06

This cassette and book are totally interactive and neither would make any kind of sense without the other. Well, perhaps the very keen student could work through the book alone but the 55k of programs on the tape are a considerable help.

I use the word student advisedly because the pack is really aimed around 'A' Level Computer Science exams. I confess I have never passed an exam in computing, having learned by doing and teaching myself but there is obviously a growing interest in formal qualifications in computing.

The back cover claims the book and cassette will also be of interest to anyone wishing to write data handling programs. I have my doubts whether the dry approach of this volume will encourage anyone not committed to this area of study by examination.

The programs set out to demonstrate on screen what is happening inside the computer during sorting and related activities. This is done by the user making inputs which are manipulated into their correct places in the data structures while the appropriate Basic lines are highlighted.

In this way, the use of loops is well demonstrated while conditions are met and explained. A few terms new to my vocabulary appear in the book as, for instance, I had never used a hash table before.

I suppose it is a measure of the style of this book that I can now work reasonably well through examples using them. The book is good value for those students meeting data structures in their syllabuses though I cannot imagine it becoming general reading matter among the average micro owners.

Phil Tayler

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