Re: Re: Mathematica Notebook Organiztion

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg56955] Re: [mg56936] Re: Mathematica Notebook Organiztion*From*: DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com>*Date*: Wed, 11 May 2005 05:24:10 -0400 (EDT)*References*: <200505060701.DAA06272@smc.vnet.net> <d5htns$jsg$1@smc.vnet.net> <200505071935.PAA27011@smc.vnet.net> <d5muvu$duq$1@smc.vnet.net> <200505100742.DAA08410@smc.vnet.net>*Reply-to*: drbob at bigfoot.com*Sender*: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

> Calculate plots ... with Mathematica ... export > ... to EPS, PDF or QuickTime; polish ... with Illustrator; > edit ... with QuickTime Pro ... publish ... with PowerPoint > or Acrobat ... prepared with TeX or LaTeX ... web pages > prepared ... with your favorite web preparation tool. I don't see how that's simpler than a single tool that would do all the same things. The "monolithic" tool might have consistent interface standards and logic across all those tasks, and even if it didn't, I doubt the confusion could be greater than what you describe. Either way, the user has a LOT to learn; putting it all in one application and/or manual is a problem for a software provider, not a user. The most convincing argument you've mentioned (IMHO) is the notion of competition. If Microsoft Word did a simpler job and depended on third-party tools for footnotes, headers, and page numbers, for instance, we might get a better result. There are such tools, too, but they're expensive. Far better to have a built-in capability, poor as it sometimes is. Bobby On Tue, 10 May 2005 03:42:53 -0400 (EDT), AES <siegman at stanford.edu> wrote: > In article <d5muvu$duq$1 at smc.vnet.net>, > Chris Chiasson <chris.chiasson at gmail.com> wrote: > >> Are you saying that most ordinary users have abandoned Mathematica? > > No, not at all. Many, many working scientists and engineers -- along > with students, professors, and many others in many other fields -- use > Mathematica as our primary tool for calculations, analysis, and for > graphing or animating the results of calculations and analysis; and I'd > very much like to see that continue. > > But I'm saying that Mathematica's syntax and user interface are already > sufficiently complex (or, if you like, feature-rich) just for doing > those tasks that learning and using it can already be intimidating: The > Mathematica Book is already 1462 pages; the abbreviated listing of major > Built-In Objects is 266 pages (well over 1000 such "major" objects?). > > And I'm arguing more seriously that the added complexity needed in > trying to build world-class document preparation capabilities on top of > these already world-class analysis, computation, and graphics > capabilities is (a) unnecessary, (b) undesirable, and (c) may seriously > compromise or even destroy the usability of Mathematica for its primary > purpose by making it too complex, intimidating, and hard to learn for > ordinary users -- in other words, a really BAD idea. > > >> Mathematica already describes notebooks in the same language that it >> takes commands. Take a look at the raw format of a Mathematica style >> sheet or a regular Mathematica notebook. >> >> (much stuff snipped) >> >> It would be very attractive to me to eliminate the need for using many >> different languages to deliver rich web content. Mathematica can >> already do animations, scripting, and dynamic code generation >> (NotebookWrite). Given the above, why do you think it's such a bad >> idea to use Mathematica for the web? > > Don't think I said that. What I'd say is: > > * I'd be perfectly glad to have Mathematica contain some simple (repeat, > simple) capabilities for posting its notebooks on the web, or printing > them, or converting them to PDF files, or whatever. > > * I do NOT, however, think Mathematica should also try to become a world-class > tool for preparing AND delivering polished web content, or for preparing > publication-quality (journal-quality) typeset printed output, or for > polishing graphics output to publication quality, or any of those tasks. > > Given the ease with which one can switch applications on modern > computers, what's wrong with having multiple tools (or "many different > languages") each optimized to best accomplish different aspects of these > tasks? > > Answer: Nothing is wrong with this, provided there's adequate agreement > on some reasonable set of standard formats for the objects you're > working on, and each app can import or export those formats as needed. > > Calculate plots or animations with Mathematica and export them to EPS, > PDF or QuickTime; polish and annotate the graphics with Illustrator; > edit the animations and add tracks with QuickTime Pro; embed all of > these together with other material and present or publish them with > PowerPoint or Acrobat; insert them in books or journal submissions > prepared with TeX or LaTeX; insert them in web pages prepared and > edited with your favorite web preparation tool. > > Trying to build all the capabilities of Illustrator, Acrobat, QuickTime, > PowerPoint, DreamWeaver, LaTeX, and what else (sound and music apps?) > into Mathematica doesn't produce efficiency; it just makes Mathematica's > interface so complex as to become unusable (and if you'd propose to have > modular sections within Mathematica for each task, well then the modules > can just as well be separate apps). > > It doesn't reduce the learning curve: If you're going to do any one of > those tasks, you have to understand the concepts and the sub-tasks and > what's needed to implement them, whatever app you use to implement them. > As just one example, if you're going to worry touching up the weights > and colors and other properties of lines and curves and typefaces in a > plot, you have to understand the concept of "strokes" and "fills" and > how to edit them, whether you do this in Illustrator or Mathematica -- and > Illustrator's WYSIWYG is so much easier to use that re-running a whole > Mathematica graphic just to make some cosmetic changes. > > It doesn't allow competition to optimize the tools for individual tasks. > > And so on . . . > > > > -- DrBob at bigfoot.com

**References**:**Mathematica Notebook Organiztion***From:*"David Park" <djmp@earthlink.net>

**Re: Mathematica Notebook Organiztion***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>

**Re: Mathematica Notebook Organiztion***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>