Monday, July 3, 2017

Coding Projects in Python - A Review

Coding Projects in Python


Carol Vordermam
Craig Steele
Dr. Claire Quigley
Dr. Martin Goodfellow
Daniel McCafferty
Dr. Jon Woodcock

A Review

I was caught by surprise when this beginner's guide to Python was aimed at children, but focused on syntactical issues rather than problem-solving. The authors assume that the readers will have some experience in using a programming language as a problem-solving tool. There is very little time spent on developing algorithms that can solve problems.

The first couple of chapters review python syntax. The rest of the book focuses on illustrating code for eight apps or games - but with little detail on how the solutions were developed. Added value is provided with a set of appendixes that provide all the code developed in the book, a glossary, and an index to all the features of python covered in the book. Lots of color and illustrations would make the book attractive to a child wishing to learn to program.

If the reader has prior training in developing algorithms and translating them into a programming language, this book might be of service. However, that is not likely to be a child. This is my first concern with this book. The other is the inclusion of syntax errors within the coding examples in the text. I did not test all the code, but did find one error on page 19 of Chapter 1 where a sample piece of code has an unmatched parenthesis.

The lack of instruction in creating algorithms and the presence of error(s) requires the need for an instructor to walk the student through the various samples provided in the book.

The book would serve as an ancillary text for a python course. The index and sample code would serve as excellent samples for the beginning programmer learning python.  The book, however, is not suitable for teaching basic programming skills.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

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