Books on so-called good programming techniques are now forming an important sector of the market. Although most authors fail to inform their readers that there is no best way of programming, the standard of the books is good.
Databases for Fun and Profit, by Nigel Freestone, is one of the good programming books. The author aims to give the reader an understanding of data structures which are used in programming. The book is not machine-specific and should be easily understood by most owners of the ZX-81 and Spectrum.
It starts by introducing the binary and hexidecimal number systems which are associated with computers, particularly with storage and machine code. It then explains how arrays can be used to create a variety of data structures, such as lists, trees and stacks.
When those structures have been explained the author shows how they are used in several types of programs. He shows what is needed to write diary and bank account programs and name and address systems. He also shows how to incorporate arithmetical formulae, such as income tax calculations, into a program to provide some way of processing the data once it is entered.
Databases for Fun and Profit contains much valuable information for anyone wanting to put Sinclair machines to good use. It is published by Granada Publishing and costs £5.95.