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ON TEACHING "INTO" PROGRAMMING

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128005D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-14
Document File: 6 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Roy F. Keller: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

In a previous paper jl] a way was proposed for teaching structured programming "into" a language instead of what is usually done -teaching structured programming "in" a language. "Into" programming is based on the idea that a programmer first focuses his attention on the problem to be programmed and what is to be done to solve the prob-lem. When he has well in mind what is to be done he begins to formu-late algorithmic solutions to the problem through refinements resulting in a program. The "what is to be done" in the problem guides his thinking toward selection of constructs to use in the refinement levels. He does not.allow a particular programming language's construct to interfere with his thinking. This paper illustrates "into"programming by (1) discussing thinking constructs, (2) constructing some programs for example problems, and (3) discussing efforts of ours toward better teaching of into program-ming.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

ON TEACHING "INTO" PROGRAMMING

by

Roy F. Keller and John P. Boysen

Technical Report # 78-4

1. INTRODUCTION

In a previous paper jl] a way was proposed for teaching structured programming "into" a language instead of what is usually done -teaching structured programming "in" a language. "Into" programming is based on the idea that a programmer first focuses his attention on the problem to be programmed and what is to be done to solve the prob-lem. When he has well in mind what is to be done he begins to formu-late algorithmic solutions to the problem through refinements resulting in a program. The "what is to be done" in the problem guides his thinking toward selection of constructs to use in the refinement levels. He does not.allow a particular programming language's construct to interfere with his thinking. This paper illustrates "into"programming by (1) discussing thinking constructs, (2) constructing some programs for example problems, and (3) discussing efforts of ours toward better teaching of into program- ming.

2. THINKING CONSTRUCTS

Good thinking constructs for describing solutions to problems in the form of algorithms is a must for "into" programming. It is generally agreed that the following classes of constructs are impor- tant: a. structures (for data or information) b. naming of structures c. control constructs d. procedures

e. modules The emphasize of this paper will be on control constructs which may be divided into two classes: selective (alternative) constructs and repetitive (iterative) constructs. All program languages have selective and repetitive constructs which are powerful enough to accomplish essentially all programing tasks.

Standard thinking constructs which have been implemented are: a . if-then b. if-then-else c. while-do d. repeat-until However, the implementation of these constructs reduces their general naturalness. Take for example the if-then. The general form is if -B then S where.B must be a Boolean expression which a machine can evaluate to get true or false. People can understand and describe algorithm so-lutions in a more general if-then form. No one has trouble understanding.

If you fail the course then you must repeat it. The implemented if-then statement is a simulation of a more general if-then concept. The same is true for the other, above con-structs. The basic underlying idea of each of the above constructs are the following: -. _` a. if=then - to do something or not do it

Iowa State University Page 1 Dec 31, 1978

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ON TEACHING "INTO" PROGRAMMING

b. if-then-else - to do exactly one of two things. c. while-do - to do something zero or more times
d. repeat-until - to do something one;or more tines Keller [2] advocates two more selective constructs and another repetitive construct for "into" programming.

a. incase- to do exactly one of many things b. forcase - to do an arbitrary number of many things (including zero)...