help functions

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg2435] help functions*From*: Jack Goldberg <jackgold at math.lsa.umich.edu>*Date*: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 23:42:46 -0500

Hi group; I would like to have a "help" command which generates more information than ?. The big problem my students have with ? is that it allows only a small margin of error in input and my students often come up with massive errors. Probably more to the point, ? offers no suggested alternatives. For starters, suppose that we try to define Help[x_String] := Module[ ... ] in some manner so that the output is at least as comprehensive as the built-in ?. To make this so I speculated on writing a module which returns precisely the info found in the corresponding ? x and no more. Had I succeeded, this would be the basis upon which I would have built the extensions to ?. I never got started! I don't know how to access the comments produced by ? from within my module. I suppose there is some trick that fools mma into thinking I'm using ?, but I can't think of any. And ? doesn`t help. Perhaps this isn't the way to go at all. If any of you have given this some thought, I would like to hear from you. P.S. For those of you who have used Maple, their help system is more along the lines I would like for my students. I have gotten experienced enough to know to keep "The Book" nearby - always! Jack