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Re: Re: Question regarding Mathematica's treatment of whitespace

Dear Carlos,

I like it better without a mandatory terminator. I also happen to
think that a terminator is an artifact of procedural programming.
Think about how ridiculous a cell expression would look if it were
required to have a mandatory terminator.

    RowBox[{"1", "+",
      RowBox[{"2", "mandatoryterminator"}]}]], "Input"]

versus the way it is now

    RowBox[{"1", "+", "2"}]], "Input"]

As you were probably already aware, there are plenty of things that go
after the two, which the user does not need to look at and that do
"terminate" the input expression.


On 11/4/05, carlos at <carlos at> wrote:
> I know how things works now.  There is no need to repeat the
> manual. My suggestion is to require an explicit terminator.
> Present interpretation rules stem from history. Before there was a
> front end, Mathematica and its ancestor SMP were kernel
> only programs, executed by the usual methods. Type something,
> hit CR, watch the response. Command languages have
> operated that way since CTSS in 1962.
> Want to type several commands in one line? Separate them by
> a reserved symbol ( ; and $ have been favorites since
> 1970), hit CR. The compound command was born.
> Want to reuse a block of commands? Collect somewhere,
> give a label, type label, hit CR.  The runstream was born.
> (I think it came first in Univac's TSS).
> With the advent of the front end a block organization becomes
> more natural and Mathematica gradually morphs into a scripting
> and programming language. However remnants of the old CL
> style still lurk behind. Those can be noticed, for example,
> in the In[] and Out[] labels that clutter notebooks and
> baffle my students.
> A mandatory terminator would eliminate ambiguities, and
> be especially beneficial in Modules and Blocks.
> The ancient rules could be left active for direct kernel
> execution, which is nowadays rare by end users.


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