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MathGroup Archive 2003

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Re: Readability confuses mathematica?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg44654] Re: Readability confuses mathematica?
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnewscix at mail.earthlink.net>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 04:59:18 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On 11/18/03 at 6:42 AM, paul at physics.uwa.edu.au (Paul Abbott) wrote:

> In article <bpa1q2$19m$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
>  Bill Rowe <readnewscix at mail.earthlink.net> wrote:

> > 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"

> Actually, this is not true! I use it all the time and in a perfectly 
> reliable and unambiguous way.

Interesting. I admit, I've not seriously attempted to use TraditionalForm for input mainly due to this comment in the Mathematica Book. I will have to give it a try and see how I like it. When you say you use TraditionalForm "in a perfectly reliable and unambiguous way", is there anything special (not obvious) about the way you use TraditionalForm that makes it "perfectly reliable and unambiguous"? Is so, it seems to me there may not be a conflict between the comment I found in the Mathematica Book and your experience.

> > 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.

> But you can always select all of your input cells and convert them to 
> StandardForm (or InputForm).

True. But if I cannot rely on Mathematica's interpretation of inputs made in TradiationalForm this would be rather cumbersome and painful. From my perspective, it is far better to use a form I can count on as being correct and use the coversion options later as desired.
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