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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Re: Re: Types in Mathematica

I fully agree with Andrzej,
From my past experience, I used to program with

general programming
Pascal (1983)
Basic (1984)
Fortran (1986)
C (1988 )
C++ (1997)

and in addition two types of Assembly languages: X86 (1987-2000) and PowerPC

I also used other technical computing software extensively since 1986
I started using Mathematica in 1993.

When Java gained popularity, I decided to end this madness of chasing after
programming fashions and finally decided to see in which environment I get
the best cost (programming time) to performance ratio and use a single
environment that will suite my needs as a professor at the university:
Symbolics, reach set of functions for technical computing, advanced
graphics, advanced programming and smooth mixing of code and typesetting.
Mathematica is the BIG winner from my perspective.
Since then I stopped using any other software and I really do not miss any
of them.
even tasks that I used to do with Excel find their way to be Mathematica
notebooks since it takes me less time to type some commands then clicking
and dragging in Excel (or alike).

Of course the decision may be different for a person with other goals or
During the time I never found OOP helpful for having high Mathematica
programming skills. Any programming task needs a specific programming type:
procedural, functional, pattern matching, etc. Experienced programmer
usually find himself using all this variants in a single Mathematica
notebook of package, since after all, performance is of great importance,
and as we have seen, different approaches perform differently.
However, if one does not control all the programming styles in Mathematica,
he still can do a lot, much more than with a limited knowledge in C++ for
example. isn't it?


On 11/21/05, Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at> wrote:
> On 20 Nov 2005, at 18:50, Steven T. Hatton wrote:
> > It is generally acknowledged in the computer science field that a
> > person
> > with experience in several programming languages is typically a better
> > programmer than a person who has an equivalent number of hours of
> > experience in one programming language. I mean to say both
> > programmers have
> > the same total number of hours spent programming.
> This seems to me so obviously wrong in the case of Mathematica that I
> am surprised it can even be a subject of an argument. Skillful
> programming in Mathematica (after one has acquired basic Mathematica
> literacy) depends above all else on an intimate knowledge of built-in
> functions: their options, their performance in different situations
> and similar things. The number of such functions is enormous, the
> number of options several times larger. As most people start
> forgetting such things if they stop using them for just a few weeks,
> it seems to me obvious that in the case of two individuals of roughly
> equivalent intellectual capacity one of whom devotes himself entirely
> to Mathematica while the other studies various languages for an
> equivalent length of time any kind of Mathematica programming contest
> would turn out to be a no contest.
> Andrzej Kozlowski

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