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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: Yet another Mathematica docs whopper

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg47117] Re: Yet another Mathematica docs whopper
  • From: DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 03:56:08 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Jill,

I agree on the documentation--to an extent. It's a massive system, though, 
and I've been a programmer. I know from experience that there are not 
enough hours in the day to fully document what you've done, if you GET 
much done.

The easy thing Wolfram doesn't do is provide a searchable Help system, 
like every other software company in the world--rather than the keyword 
method that depends on your knowing what keyword to use. Too many keywords 
are missing. Searching at the online documentation center is a partial 
solution to that problem, but a lot of things are still undocumented. 
Having fiddled a bit with making my own Help files for Mathematica, I 
think it's unnecessarily complicated; this may help explain why they don't 
get all of it right.

Having said all that, Help has improved in the last couple of versions.

As for Show and its options, AspectRatio CAN be used as an option to Show. 
For instance:

Plot[Sin[x], {x, 0, 2Pi}, DisplayFunction -> Identity];
Show[%, AspectRatio -> Automatic, DisplayFunction -> $DisplayFunction];

But Show passes its options to the Graphics objects inside it, so they're 
not really Show options. For instance, this gets us an error from 
Graphics, not from Show:

Plot[Sin[x], {x, 0, 2Pi}, DisplayFunction -> Identity];
Show[%, AspectRatio -> Automatic, DisplayFunction -> $DisplayFunction,
    blah -> duh];

If your intent is to add default options to Show, you can do this:

show[a__] := Show[a, AspectRatio ->
     Automatic, DisplayFunction -> $DisplayFunction]
Plot[Sin[x], {x, 0, 2Pi}, DisplayFunction -> Identity];
show[%];
show[%, AspectRatio -> 0.7];

Bobby

J Krugman <jkrugman at yahbitoo.com> wrote in message 
news:<c3udt9$9pd$1 at smc.vnet.net>...
> I've posted about the poor quality of Mathematica's documentation
> before, and received several e-mails challenging my claim that this
> documentation is awash in errors and woefully incomplete.  Well,
> for those who doubt, here's the latest example I just bumped into:
>
>   In[1]:= ??AspectRatio
>   AspectRatio is an option for Show and related functions which 
> specifies the
>               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>      ratio of height to width for a plot.
>
>   Attributes[AspectRatio] = {Protected}
>
>   In[2]:= SetOptions[Show, AspectRatio->Automatic];
>
>   SetOptions::optnf: AspectRatio is not a known option for Show.
>                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Faced with this sort of nonsense, what is a user to do?
>
> I am furious, because I spend an unreasonable amount of time
> resolving inadequacies like this one in the Mathematica documentation.
> Considering the exorbitant sum we paid for Mathematica, I expect
> something much better documented than this.
>
> jill




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