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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Re: Recommendations for a programming book?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg55837] Re: [mg55778] Re: Recommendations for a programming book?
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 05:10:41 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <d2tfqb$qp3$1@smc.vnet.net> <200504060711.DAA13529@smc.vnet.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

  I think I have read almost all books on programming in Mathematica and 
find Michael Trott's book by far the most interesting. Maeder's book is 
elegantly written but actually you do not need it to learn how to write 
good packages or how to document them: a better method is to select one 
or two standard packages provided with Mathematica and study them 
carefully. To me this seems a relatively trivial issue, not worth a 
whole book. Maeder's two books entitles The Mathematica Programmer I 
and II, based on his articles in the Mathematica Journal are in many 
ways more interesting.
Wagner's book is a good book on programming but it hardly shows you how 
to solve a serious problem. For the latter Mastering Mathematica by 
Gray is better but it comes nowhere near Michael's book. The value of 
Michael's book is not really that there are "things in there that are 
no where else" but rather that shows how to use Mathematica to solve 
problems about which it is sometimes hard to believe that they can even 
tackled with a computer program. It is completely wrong to say that is 
has  "a huge number of unnecessary references". The worked out problems 
and exercises touch on countless topics in Mathematics and physics and 
the references are needed for the necessary background. I doubt that 
there is anyone who knows more than a fraction of the material 
involved; references are a must in this sort of work.
As for Wolfram's book; well I think trying to learn Matheamtica form it 
is a bit like trying to learn mathematics form an; I do not know anyone 
who has got very far with this approach. But, as a basic reference it 
has no substitute.

Andrzej Kozlowski




On 6 Apr 2005, at 09:11, David Bailey wrote:

> I remember when I first obtained Mathematica, how impressed I was with
> Stephen's book. I think the examples are particularly well chosen - not
> too simple as to fail to illustrate what a command does, but not so
> complicated that you have to work hard to understand them.
>
> Because the book with the software is so good, it does seem hard to 
> beat
> it! I have yet to read Michael Trott's book, and what you say is
> interesting. I wonder if anyone else can offer an opinion.
>
> As regards such things as checking that a function does not
> inadvertently access global variables, I think this is something for a
> piece of checking software to enforce - it is not so much a lack of
> knowledge, but a mistake that you are trying to eliminate.
>
> David Bailey
> dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk
>
>


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