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Re: Readability confuses mathematica?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg44580] Re: Readability confuses mathematica?
  • From: Jason Harris <jasonh at>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 02:05:09 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <p05200f0fbbda77047608@[]> <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Andrzej removed my private response about the packet so I'll share it 
for everyone's benefit.

>I think there might be a new bug in getting the state of these menus
>items in 5.0. The Notation package looks at them to determine which
>form to create the notation in. It looks like this low level packet
>has changed or has some glitch. In the meantime you can get around
>this problem by adding the option WorkingForm->TraditionalForm

It turns out there was no error at all in Mathematica. (I was working 
on something experimental and it turned out that my initial 
impression that there was an issue in AbsoluteOptions[$FrontEnd, 
CommonDefaultFormats] was wrong.) Thus there was no problem at all in 
Mathematica 5.0 in this case.

At 12:28 AM +0900 15/11/03, Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
>>Right now the working form is determined from the output format type
>>only. That is since your default output format was TraditionalForm
>>then the input and output rules were created only for traditional
>>form. If you are going to use mixed forms you should create two
>>statements. one for each form.
>>     RowBox[{"Symbolize", "[",
>>       TagBox["\[Placeholder]",
>>         NotationBoxTag,
>>         TagStyle->"NotationTemplateStyle"], " ", "]"}]], "Input"]
>>     FormBox[
>>       RowBox[{"Symbolize", "[",
>>         RowBox[{
>>           TagBox["\[Placeholder]",
>>             NotationBoxTag,
>>             TagStyle->"NotationTemplateStyle"], " ", ",",
>>           RowBox[{
>>           "WorkingForm", " ", "\[Rule]", " ", "TraditionalForm"}]}],
>>         "]"}], TraditionalForm]], "Input"]

I should point out as well that Symbolizing in both forms is slightly 
problematic. (Note Notations are immune to this artifact.) I can go 
into more technical detail about this if necessary, but for now if 
you are using Symbolizations its best to have the Default Input 
FormatType and Default Output FormatType the same.

>Okay, now I understand what has happened. It took me a long time to 
>accept what Paul has been arguing for years: that TraditionlForm is 
>a "good thing". Until about a year ago I worked exclusively in 
>StandardForm, only occasionally converting  certain cells to 
>TraditionalForm. Only fairly recently I started using 
>TraditionalForm as the default for output but I still kept 
>StandardForm for input. It is this change that must have caused my 
>problems with the Notation package, which are therefore not related 
>to any changes in Mathematica.
>I am still not convinced that TraditionalForm makes good input. It 
>hides too much of the underlying Mathematica code, it makes it 
>difficult to copy and paste cells and, it seems to me, is more prone 
>to corruption. Besides, I do tend to think of input and output as 
>performing a different role, with input being essentially "source 

But its very nice to be able to edit the output as new input, thus 
they are highly linked in an interactive system such as Mathematica's.

>Even when I teach undergraduate classes I prefer StandardForm for 
>input, since it reveals much more of the Mathematica programming 
>language and hence is more instructive. So it seems to me that the 
>mixed form (Standard for input, Traditional for output) is the most 
>natural setup.

Yep. Its on my list :)


Jason Harris
Wolfram Research

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