Phone Tree

Azureaus ltoshea at
Sun Sep 13 16:39:23 CEST 2015

I'm helping out some teenagers (14yo ish) who have just started programming and are working on a 'call tree' program as part of some after school coding classes and I wanted to talk about potential solutions. 

The first task is to implement a 'troubleshooting program' similar to what a phone operator would have when you phone up with a problem. We all know the type when you phone up your ISP, 'have you turned it off and on again?', "have you changed your telephone filter' etc..

It states there should be at least 10 questions and that the user should reach a solution, e.g. 'replace your power cable'. There and my initial reaction was that this could be achieved by lots of if/else statements with each question running onto another one, ugly but it would certainly work. One of them pointed out how inefficient this was and asked if there was another way, they hated writing out tons of if/elif/else statements.

Does anyone have any ideas for a more elegant solution? My thoughts are that I could use a tree data structure and hence make traversing the tree recursive based on yes or no answers. I'm happy to put the time in to explain these more complex ideas, I'm just hoping those with more expertise than myself could either help verify the idea or suggest alternatives.

Thanks in advance!

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