Ready-to-Run Visual BasicAlgorithms / Edition 2

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Overview

All the Visual Basic algorithms you'll ever need and how to use them

This book/CD package arms you with a library of powerful algorithms completely implemented in Visual Basic source code. Just as importantly, it shows you how, when, and where to use them . . . or not to use them. It covers classic VB algorithms as well as the latest VB object-oriented techniques for handling just about any design requirement you'll encounter, such as managing data structures, sorting, searching, hashing, networking, and other important program functions.

In plain English, and with the help of sample code and scads of working examples, VB expert Rod Stephens explains how algorithms work and:
* Describes techniques for selecting the best ones for your projects
* Tutors you in methods for analyzing how they will perform in your programs
* Acquaints you with programming techniques for solving problems as they arise
* Supplies algorithms for most programming situations
* Covers new object-oriented VB algorithms-how they work and how to use them
* Introduces new concepts and techniques for programming in multiple versions of VB.

The CD-ROM supplies you with:
* Source code for all the algorithms described
* Test programs to try them out
* Examples and tests to help you gauge and fine-tune your skills.

Visit our website at www.wiley.com/compbooks/

Visit the author's comprehensive Visual Basic site at:.www.vb-helper.com

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Editorial Reviews

Chris Jaekl

An Algorithms Cookbook for VB Programmers

As a student of computer science, I had a fundamental principle drilled into my head time and time again -- languages come and go, but algorithms stand the test of time. A good algorithms reference doesn't need to focus on a particular language; however, those books tend to be crammed with computer-scientists' jargon, and provide less than an ideal starting point for the novice programmer. Rod Stevens' Ready-to-Run Visual Basic Algorithms, Second Edition is an attempt to bridge the gap, to help people who know the rudiments of programming in Visual Basic VB experiment with tried-and-tested algorithms and incorporate them into their own programs.

To make sense of this book, you must already be familiar with variables, conditional statements, loops, subroutines, and abstract data types. Even more advanced topics, such as class declarations and static variables, are introduced and used so quickly that a novice programmer will probably need an additional reference. In other words, Ready-to-Run Visual Basic Algorithms, is a logical "next step" for someone who has completed an introduction to VB programming, but you should make sure that you've understood at least one other book about VB before attempting to read this one. I applaud this approach, because it lets you concentrate on learning algorithms without getting bogged down by syntactic details.

Stephens describes all of the standard data structures that should be part of every programmer's toolkit: arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees including AVL and B-Trees, and hash tables. As for algorithms, he provides a competent description of the standard searching and sorting techniques as you would expect from any algorithms book, a readable and gentle introduction to recursion, a reasonable discussion of decision trees and network algorithms, and a superficial treatment of hard aka NP-complete problems.

The book's first edition dealt with VB 3, which didn't support classes; this edition's final chapter is a grab-bag of miscellaneous information about object- oriented OO techniques that are possible with VB 4, but didn't seem to fit anywhere else in the revised text. This final chapter contains some interesting nuggets of programming wisdom, but it's too brief and jumps between topics too quickly to be of much use.

The book is accompanied by a CD with VB source code for the algorithms that it discusses, and example programs which let users interactively explore performance tradeoffs on their own computer system. The theoretician in me was pleased to find a short but adequate description of complexity analysis, including asymptotic bounds and "Big Oh" notation. I think that the author struck a good balance here between rigor and readability.

My major complaint about Ready-to-Run, is with its physical layout and typesetting. When terms are defined, they should be highlighted, or at least printed in bold type; the use of simple italics makes it hard to find the term in a page full of text. Likewise, equations are buried in the body of the text, which makes them hard to read; it would be helpful if they were centered, and denominators were printed underneath their numerators. The page layout algorithm often causes figures to turn up on the following page, in the midst of some unrelated text, necessitating annoying back-and-forth page-flipping. Also, the book would benefit from a few more diagrams and an additional metaphor or two. For example, when introducing stacks, Stephens merely states that:

"For historical reasons, adding an item to a stack is called pushing the item onto the stack, and removing an item from a stack is called popping the item off the stack."

Most programmers have eaten in a cafeteria at some point in their lives, and many will recall encountering a stack of plates in a spring-loaded dispenser there; the weight of a new plate added to the top of the stack pushes the entire stack down into the dispenser, while removing a plate from the top causes the spring to pop the stack back up. That's where the "historical" term comes from, and it's easier to remember the terms and the last-in, first-out nature of stacks once you've heard the story.

The cover of Ready-to-Run Visual Basic Algorithms, depicts someone dumping code out of a book directly into a computer. If that is your objective -- as a VB programmer, to quickly incorporate some standard algorithms into your code -- then this is a good place to turn. Also, if you already know VB and are looking for a quick introduction to algorithms, this book may be for you. Otherwise if you're not using VB, or if you're seeking a deep understanding of the issues inherent in algorithm design, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. My personal favorite is Introduction to Algorithms, by Cormen, Leiserson, and Rivest MIT Press, 1990. While programming languages have changed in the past decade, the design and implementation of standard algorithms hasn't.--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471242680
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/27/1998
  • Edition description: 2ND BK&CDR
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.53 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

ROD STEPHENS is a contract software engineer specializing in algorithms and graphical user interface design. He is a former senior member of the technical staff at GTE Laboratories, where he developed several award-winning systems using state-of-the-art algorithms. Rod writes regular algorithm columns appearing in Visual Basic Developer, Microsoft Office & Visual Basic for Applications Developer, and Delphi Informant. He is the author of three other books on Visual Basic programming.
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Table of Contents

Fundamental Concepts.

Lists.

Stacks and Queues.

Arrays.

Recursion.

Trees.

Balanced Trees.

Decision Trees.

Sorting.

Searching.

Hashing.

Network Algorithms.

Object-Oriented Techniques.

Appendices.

Index.

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