HOW TO PROGRAM THE APPLE

The footnote to the title, 'If you've never programmed a computer before', is well chosen, because this is exactly the type of person this book is written for. Not people who have never used a computer, however. The authors assume that the reader owns an Apple with disk drive and colour monitor, and knows how to use it with commercial software.

As the book is intended to be used in conjunction with the computer throughout, the first step is to explain the disk operating system (DOS) and how to initialise disks and SAVE programs - which haven't been written yet.

After the usual gentle introduction to Applesoft Basic program commands, the next section deals with sound production. In this case the reader is provided with the means to produce "music" without any real explanation of how it works.

Further chapters describe mathematical symbols, strings, graphics, colour and arrays, and how to use them. Each section is enlivened with sample programs and games to make the lesson more memorable.

The final chapter lists a number of games, but I again wondered whether the reader had been supplied with enough information to understand their structure.

The glossary is incomplete and doesn't repeat many of the expressions used in the book, but the Appendix on the use and care of disks is very laudable. How many beginners carelessly throw their disks about thinking that they are indestructible?

The book is easy and pleasant to read, and trying out the programs should provide hours of amusement. I don't however, think it provides a *complete* introduction to programming; a claim which, I hasten to add, the authors do not make. A lot of practice and a little more tutoring will still be needed.