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Calculator Programming Tutorial

Introduction

Programming as a Personal Skill

The opportunity to engage in computer programming has never been more widespread. The number of programming environments available in a typical end-user computer system is astounding. Most spreadsheet users do not consider building a spreadsheet “programming,” but building a spreadsheet is programming the data flow machine provided by the spreadsheet engine. All Microsoft Office products include a complete Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming environment: in Microsoft Word, for example, Tools|Macro|Visual Basic Editor, or Alt-F11, will bring the VBA programming environment to the fore. It is entirely possible to write sophisticated applications using only Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, or other Microsoft Office application. Any JavaScript-enabled web browser is also an execution engine for the JavaScript language, for which programs can be prepared using only a text editor. And, of course, programmable calculators abound.

As these programming environments are ubiquitous, most or all of the information presented in this tutorial will be for all three environments: JavaScript, Visual Basic for Applications (in particular that implemented by Microsoft Word), and the Casio FX-7400G or CFX-9850G calculator. The emphasis, however, will be on the types of computations that can be performed by the calculator. Thus, for example, defining methods by creating function-valued properties of the template instance of a class (a useful technique in JavaScript) is out of scope for this tutorial.

As a profession, programming requires the constant dedication to continual refinement of knowledge and skill that any profession requires. As a hobby or an adjunct to another profession, however, it requires only a willingness to learn a few new skills. Plumbing is a demanding and rewarding profession, but a homeowner does not need to be a master plumber to sweat in a repair coupling on a half-inch copper water supply line. A homeowner needs only a willingness to learn how to handle a torch, flux, and solder, and to leave the three-inch live steam lines to the professionals. It is my hope that this web course can give you enough information about programming that you can do the equivalent of sweat in a repair coupling: write small programs that you will find useful.

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Copyright © 2001 Brian Hetrick
Page last updated 30 December 2001.

Brian’s Casio Calculator Corner

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