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Recommendations for a programming book?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg55752] Recommendations for a programming book?
  • From: David Kirkby <david.kirkby at>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 03:21:51 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Has anyone got any recommendations for books on Mathematica programming 
- i.e writing packages for a set of routines you develop for your own 
(or others) use, packing them together properly, documenting them for 
the user etc? Insuring routines that are used internally (private) in 
your package are not visable to the user when he/she reads it in to 
their Mathematica session, whereas the ones you intend (public) are 
fully documented.

I have the book "Programming in Mathematica" by Roman Maeder (1989), 
based on version 1.2 of Mathematica. This assumes some familiarity with 
the program, so does *not* start with 1+1=2. I like the book, but 
thought it might be a bit dated now - remember my copy is 6 years old.

I thought perhaps there would be something to be gained by a more up to 
date book than the old copy of Maeder's I have, So I bought "The 
Mathematica Guidebook for Programming"  by Michael Trott:

but it was not what I expected. My mis-understanding of the title I 
think. The first example in the book is

In[1]:= 1+1

Out[1]= 2

and then seems to repeat much of what there is in Steven Wolfram's book 
"The Mathematica Book"

The book seems to have a huge number of unnecessary references - there 
is over 1100 references in the introductory Chapter 1, and other 
chapters have hundreds of references each.

I only got the book today, so have not looked at it carefully, but it 
certainly does not fill the gap I was looking to fill. It does however 
look quite a reasonable introduction to Mathematica, and is a little 
more manageable in size than the official book - although still quite big.

PS for anyone in the UK thinking of buying this book, or the Mathematica 
book by Wolfram, I suggest you click on the "New and used" section of 
the Amazon site. Often there are dealers in the USA who will ship a new 
copy of the book to you for a *lot* less than Amazon UK sell it for 

You can save over £8 on the Mathematica Book, and I saved twenty odd 
pounds on the Trott book. It seems strange Amazon providing links to 
dealers undercutting them by a lot, but I guess they get some share of 
the profits when you buy via the Amazon site.

Dr. David Kirkby,

Please check out
of if you live in Essex

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