TRS-80 Color Basic. (book reviews) Stephen Gray.
TRS-80 Color Basic
Because Radio Shack's Color Computer manual leaves much to be desired, authors like Bob Albrecht have stepped in to fill the gap by writing books such as this, which goes into much more detail than the skimpy original, and which is highly readable.
The 13 chapters cover an introduction, Easy Stuff (cursor, CLEAR, PRINT, ENTER, SOUND), Basic Programs, Number Boxes, String Boxes, Skipping Around the Screen (placing characters), Graphics Galore, Meandering (RND), Playtime Junction (IF/THEN/ELSE, INKEY$ ), String Functions, Subscripted Variables, Computing Problems and Challenges, and The Color Basic Toolbox (a quick reference guide). Eleven appendixes are about hooking up the computer, using a cassette recorder, error messages, arithmetic, reserved words, screen maps, sound and music, color codes and graphics characters, ASCII codes, joysticks, and a list of eight books and magazines on the Color Computer.
This is the sixth Self-Teaching Guide that Albrecht has written for Wiley. Each chapter in an STG consists of short sections called frames, most of which here end with questions or things to do on the computer. Each chapter begins with a brief list of what the chapter covers; if you feel you already know it, you can skip to the end of the chapter and take the Self-Test. The answers to the Self-Test list the frame numbers that relate to the question, so if you miss one, you can review the related frames.
The only thing wrong with this book is that it doesn't cover Extended Color Basic because Albrecht knew his friend Don Inman was writing a book on the subject (published by Reston; it will be reviewed here).
Albrecht has had enough experience in using and teaching computers to know just what should be in such books and how to write them. There are many programs and examples of program lines, blanks to be filled in, explanatory callouts, explanations of program lines, etc. And above all, a clearly written, highly detailed text that covers just about everything you'd want to know about the basics of Color Basic.
It is indeed, as the back cover claims, an "entertaining self-instructional book' that is "the ideal introductory aid for kids, parents, and teachers using the Color Computer.'
Review Grade: B+