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MathGroup Archive 2000

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Re: ReleaseInfo[command_String]? -A useless dream?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg22917] Re: ReleaseInfo[command_String]? -A useless dream?
  • From: Jens-Peer Kuska <kuska at informatik.uni-leipzig.de>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 02:04:34 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Universitaet Leipzig
  • References: <8cead2$15g@smc.vnet.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Hi,

> 
> Is there a way to access to the 'release information' for each command
> in Mathematica?

No.

> What I'd like to know is the release where the command first appeared
> and the releases where it was modified or suppressed. Better yet would
> be to access to more detailed information about the changes it has
> undergone
> (such as the old and the new syntax and the old and new I/O parameters)
> Looking up the book each time one has a hunch that the command might
> have been changed usually results (I talk for myself) in not looking at
> all.

Mathematica is more than 10 years old ! Some people that wrote the first
version ( Jerry Keiper) are dead, and over 10 years I expect that some
kernel
developer are not working for WRI.

More over it is common in Mathematica, that obsolente functions are
removed form the documentation (like Literal[]) but left in the Kernel
for backward compatibility.

> 
> It is not difficult to write a simple routine that will show the
> information (at least I think so) but the problem resides in where to
> find the data, without having to buy all of the four MathBooks and
> typing command after command the 'what's new' part.
> AFAYK, is this data already available in electronic - a table I mean -
> format?
> Must be far from small...
> 
> Besides, am I the only one to think that such information would be
> useful?

Yes. Because I can't see how to benefit from the knowlege that 
some function is replaced by an better one or a certain option droped
from a function. I think such information will create a information
overkill
for functions and options that are forgotten since 6 years.

> To write more robust packages that run on different versions and to
> adapt packages that come from different versions are not tasks strictly
> for developers.

I have several packages since version 1.2 and I have found only
minor differences that can be fixed easy. The N[0] change in 
version 3.0 - 4.0 have created the most problems. Allmost all
other problems come form some undocumented functions I had used :-)

> Common people can access two different version of Mathematica at the university,
> or at work and at home, and it is common to download packages from the
> net which may be written in a version different from one's own.
> Not to mention uploading packages to the Mathsource.

Mathematica share not the version numbering of Microsoft ! so you have
only
to look for $VersionNumber==3 or 4 and make some changes. I the most
cases this are
changes to improve the performance and switch to an new (faster) buld-in
command.

Regards
  Jens


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