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by Charles W. Grant & Jon Butah
Reviewed by Brian Pankuch

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the 1984 Winter CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.

The two authors are a computer scientist and a writer with teaching experience, respectively. Their collaboration results in a book which is comprehensive and readable. The major parts of the p-system; the editor and the filer, are each given a full chapter. Each available command is covered, with auxiliary information as needed to explain practical examples. This is unlike the usual manual, which covers one subject assuming you know all other topics bearing on the subject, and results in hours of hunting through inadequate indexes.

When using the editor, with a few keystrokes you can change to a word processing mode. This is quite useful for all types of memos and reports. It is handy since you use exactly the same editor commands for word processing as for writing your own programs. Unless you are a very heavy user or have total recall, decreasing the number of sets of editing commands you need to remember is a blessing. With one diskette and one set of commands, you can do all you need to, and you don't need to purchase a separate word processor.
A professional word processor has many additional features, but I've found the above quite adequate for memos and reports. Illustrations showing you exactly what should be on the screen are used extensively and make the numerous examples clear.
Additional information is given on writing small and large programs. Many useful hints are given on optimizing-the running and storing of programs. Although the examples given in this section are in Pascal, they are usually under 6 lines in length and written to be understandable even if you don't know Pascal. In general, good techniques for logical program development also optimize run-time and storage requirements. An example from Pascal would be using local variables instead of global variables whenever possible.
If you are new to the p-system this book will be a great help. A number of the examples will open a few new vistas to experienced users. Overall, this is a readable book which does exactly what it proposes - gives the reader an introduction to the UCSD p-system.
12/16/84 to 12/19/84