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Re: "?" to find symbols

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg26379] Re: "?" to find symbols
  • From: gavin at (Gavin Scott)
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 02:40:11 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Globix Corp.
  • References: <90v7jn$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Stuart Schaffner <sch at> wrote:
> Sometimes, especially when I have read in some data from a file, I
> like to see what symbols have been defined.  If I suspect that there
> are symbols of the form foonnn, I will add the command ?Global\foo* to
> a notebook.  This has worked for several years.

I assume you mean ?Global`foo* (backtic versus backslash)?

> Using the new version 4.1 on MS Windows 98 (Second Edition), I am
> getting unpleasant behavior.  Sometimes it works as expected, but most
> of the time the front end hangs.

> I presume there is a lot of data to look at in Global, and I shouldn't
> be accessing it this way.  Should I always use a namespace, or is
> there some other mechanism entirely?

I suspect there is simply a bug in the new "cute" implementation of
the '?' input metacharacter when used with a pattern match like foo*.

In 4.1, entering ?Func* for example gets you a cleverly formatted 
output cell with a grey background and each of the listed matches
is a hyperlink that appears to invoke Information[] (aka '??') for
that function.  It would appear to do this any time there is more
than one item matching the pattern given to '?', so if you only 
have 'foo' then ?fo* will work the old way, but if you then define
a 'foo2', you'll start getting the new fancy output.

So far (4.1.0 on Windows 2000) I have not been able to reproduce
the hang that you describe using '?'.

Perhaps there is a Developer`SystemOptions[] option or a frontend
preference setting that will turn off the new behavior.  I took a
quick look for something like this but nothing jumped out at me.


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