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J.L. Ford's "Challenges"

by irvson (Sexton)
on Dec 18, 2009 at 23:55 UTC ( #813457=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
irvson has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

As my primary text for learning Perl, I've been using Perl Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Jerry Lee Ford, Jr. I'm a retired teacher with four decades of experience, and I like the approach that Ford takes. But there are two drawbacks to this book. First, a list of errata is not available from the publisher, altho there are several typos and other errors. Second, the topic of each chapter culminates in a script which the student -- me -- types in. This demonstrates the main points in that chapter's topic. Good, so far. Each chapter ends with a set of "Challenges," which direct the student to modify the script. Good. But BAD comes in when nowhere in the book are there any solutions to these Challenges. My prior programming experience has helped me solve some of the these problems but, for the most part, I've been relying on the folks here to help me. Does anyone know whether the solutions to these "challenges" have been published anywhere?

Comment on J.L. Ford's "Challenges"
Re: J.L. Ford's "Challenges"
by biohisham (Priest) on Dec 19, 2009 at 00:31 UTC
    Salutes for the efforts and keep going on and things would be fruitful because the learning journey is a rewarding one...

    Alas, from Google Search it looks like there are no published solutions to these challenges as of yet, this book's rated 1.9 from 8 in this link, you might also consider consulting the review section for a list of some books that you can have in the future, it is not really a negative thing that this book doesn't have answer, for at times the challenge is worth taking it after all...

    I really wish you the best of luck and keep being around :).



    Excellence is an Endeavor of Persistence. Chance Favors a Prepared Mind.

      Before I posed the question here, I did the Google thing and, of course, got the same results you did. And I agree that challenges can be an important part of the learning process. What has always given me the greatest satisfaction in programming has been solving problems. But some of Ford's challenges appear to be unreasonable. One example: One script calls for input that should be a number. The challenge is to evaluate input to make sure that it is a number. My Net searches turned up a code block that does the job, but the code is a regular expression -- something that the book doesn't cover for a couple of chapters further on. (If there is a different way to check input for numerical data, I'd be happy to try it.)

Re: J.L. Ford's "Challenges"
by McDarren (Abbot) on Dec 19, 2009 at 06:19 UTC
    Not a direct answer to your question, but you may consider taking a look at Learning Perl (aka "the Llama"), which is currently in its 5th edition. Widely recognised as one of the best books for Perl beginners (and it does have answers to all exercises).

    If you find that a bit easy going, then the next step might be Programming Perl (aka "the Camel"). Considered by many as the Perl "bible", it's also a very entertaining read.

    Hope this helps,
    Darren :)

      Learning Perl is the first book I bought. The author presents the material in such a way that I find it difficult to "put it all together." The Ford book is better in that regard; at least for me it is. But, as you point out, the end-of-chapter exercises do have solutions, so the obvious move is to saddle up the Llama one more time.

Re: J.L. Ford's "Challenges"
by Arunbear (Parson) on Dec 19, 2009 at 20:47 UTC

      One of the first things I tried.

Re: J.L. Ford's "Challenges"
by JadeNB (Chaplain) on Dec 20, 2009 at 01:46 UTC
    Does anyone know whether the solutions to these "challenges" have been published anywhere?
    If you post them here, I'll bet you'd get tons of proposed solutions—which I think is much more interesting than a single author's take on a problem, anyway. In fact, I'll bet a compendium of them could make a really fun Seekers thread (as long as people are good about using <spoiler>).

      WoW! That would be an interesting approach and a challenge in itself. But for that to work, the scripts which the challenges are supposed to amend would also have to be posted, and that would probably be a copyright infringement.

        Fair use

        Good point—I hadn't thought of that, and I'm not sure that I share anonymonk's confidence that it's fair use. I'm not familiar with the challenges, but would it be possible for you to describe, in your own words, the challenges that we're trying to meet, or are they crucially tied to particular scripts to be fixed?

        UPDATE in response to a downvote: I'm not saying that it's not fair use, just that I don't know enough (any) copyright law to know that it is.

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