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MathGroup Archive 2003

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Re: Readability confuses mathematica?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg44591] Re: Readability confuses mathematica?
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnewscix at mail.earthlink.net>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 03:38:23 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On 11/15/03 at 2:05 AM, akoz at mimuw.edu.pl (Andrzej Kozlowski) wrote:

> 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 
> code". 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.

To add to Andrzej's point I offer the following quotes from the Mathematica Book 

from section 1.0.9

"The basic idea of StandardForm is to provide a precise but elegant representation of Mathematica expressions, making use of special characters, two-dimensional positioning and so on."

and

"But you should understand that TraditionlForm is intended primarily for output: it does not have the kind of precision that is needed to provide reliabile input to Mathematica"

It seems to me this strongly argues for using StandardForm as the default input and TraditionalForm as the defualt output. For me the clear advantage of this setup is I can be more certain of the input Mathematica is getting and readily share my results with colleagues unfamiliar with Mathematica.
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