MathGroup Archive 2000

[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]

Search the Archive

Re: Re: Big trouble with Mathematica Code parsing -- Rant.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg26328] Re: [mg26288] Re: [mg26244] Big trouble with Mathematica Code parsing -- Rant.
  • From: "Mark Harder" <harderm at>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 02:54:43 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Jacqueline Zizi writes:
>PS Kludge is missing in my dictionary. What does that means?

    Have you ever looked at a printed circuit board, noticed one or maybe
more small wires going from point to point on the board, instead of the
copper traces inside the board that are supposed to do the job of wiring,
and wondered why the board was made that way?  Legend has it that electronic
technicians, probably American, started calling such a thing a "kludge" --
pronounced "klooj".  I doubt very much that the term comes from Latin, or
Greek, or French, or Sanskrit.  I guess "kludge" was invented as a sort of
mental onomatopoiea. The word, in English anyway, looks and sounds as clumsy
and inelegant as the thing it describes -- namely, a relatively inexpensive
way to fix a printed circuit that was not designed right in the first place.
    So the term came to be applied to software, and is loaded with negative
value judgement -- the perfect programmer either designs a program to work
in the first place, or fixes the fundamental logic of the program when she
notices something wrong.  That is why there are no kludges in Mathematica,
only "fixes" or "work-arounds" ;-} .
-mark harder

p.s. Come to think of it, a p.s. to a letter could be described as a kind of
kludge, don't you think?

-----Original Message-----
From: Jacqueline Zizi <jazi at>
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg26328] [mg26288] Re: [mg26244] Big trouble with Mathematica Code
parsing -- Rant.

>I never used Return before to day and I would like to understand what
>I can't get it from your long tirade.
>Please give your code so that we can reproduce your "Big Trouble"
>Jacqueline Zizi
>PS Kludge is missing in my dictionary. What does that means?
>"Louis M. Pecora" wrote:
>> [[ This message was both posted and mailed: see
>>    the "To," "Cc," and "Newsgroups" headers for details. ]]
>> {\RANT ON}
>> I have just spent another 3 hours debugging Mathematica code that, for
>> some reason unclear to me, insists on putting Null's into the return
>> values, as in
>>     2
>> Null  Return[{1.0,2.9}]   (in which the numbers are right, but the
>> Null's don't belong)
>> Rather than just returning
>> {1.0,2.9}
>> Where are they coming from?  Beats me.  This is the third time in the
>> last month or so that I've spent the better part of a day (a few days
>> in some cases) trying hard to figure why Mathematica parses my code in
>> a brain-dead way.
>> Beware.  Adding white space and blank lines for readability can cause
>> Null's  to appear and other problems.  I suspect this is partly related
>> to the fact that space can be taken as a multiplication, but
>> eliminating spaces and blank lines may not cure the problem.  I know.
>> I've tried.
>> I've done things such as copy the code into a text editor then right
>> back to Mathematica and then it works...until I change something or
>> open up the file later and try to use it.  Then I may get a syntax
>> error or just more Nulls, again.  Sometimes recopying the code out and
>> in will fix it, again. Sometimes not.  But what a Kludge!
>> Mathematica is doing things behind the scenes to the text in its
>> parsing and it messes stuff up.  Mathematica Support have responded
>> with hints such as Set Save in Box Form to False, eliminate white space
>> (there goes readability), make sure all lines end in ";" (that one, at
>> least, makes sense).  I've done it all and still have problems.
>> It is ridiculous when one of the most powerful sofeware packages in the
>> world cannot parse code correctly.  It cannot handle simple, clear
>> white space correctly.  And it insists on changing things which cause
>> failures.
>> These are not feature or even bugs.  They are FLAWS.
>> Maybe it's the automatic indenting.  I don't know.  I am totally
>> frustrated.  If anyone knows of anyway to turn off or on some setting
>> to get this program to just handle my code sensibly, PLEASE let me
>> know.
>> I hope Wolfram is listening.  There is a serious upgrade-FIX needed for
>> Mathematica 4.0.  Right now I would not recommend this program to
>> anyone in my lab.
>> {\RANT OFF}
>> My views are my own.

  • Prev by Date: Jordan Canonical Form
  • Next by Date: Call for all people presenting the Louis or Carl, Big trouble syndrom
  • Previous by thread: Re: Call for all people presenting the Louis or Carl, Big trouble syndrom
  • Next by thread: Re: Re: Big trouble with Mathematica Code parsing -- Rant.