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Re: Package development

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  • Subject: [mg62557] Re: [mg62545] Package development
  • From: "David Annetts" <davidannetts at>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 00:57:38 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Hi GL,

> Just completed the online Wolfram course on programming. That 
> was desperatly needed! Been using (sporadically) and reading 
> about Mathematica since version 3 (including 2nd edition of 
> Maeder's book), but there is nothing like hearing someone 
> (Wellin) focusing you on the important stuff. Even if given 
> online, this was a great thing to follow. I am surprised that 
> these formations are not discussed more often in this 
> newsgroup. I guess that many would find answers to their 
> question by taking this short formation (if they have a good 
> boss that can cover the expense...).
> Now the question. I have written a few packages in the past. 
> More recently, I am always questioning myself to know if I 
> should develop it directly in an ASCII .m file or use the 
> notebook format  and rely on the autosave package feature 
> (initialization cells). I like the idea of  developing the 
> package in the notebook format to have all the formatting 
> features that ease reading, but at the same time, I hate to 
> loose all the comments I put in when the *.m file is created. 
> Of course I could put comments in the input lines of the 
> notebook, but then I am better writing the ASCII file. Also, 
> I could save the notebook as a package through "Save as 
> Special" (that puts all the headers and text in comments, 
> which is not done with the autosave package feature), but 
> this is not an automated way of doing things. I am just 
> seeking opinions from Mathematica power users. Which way do 
> you develop packages?

I haven't written anything using an ASCII editor since V3.0 which was when
the front end became available for Windows systems.  The advantage (to me
anyway) of using the front end is that I can prototype each of the functions
that will end up in the package as I go.  With ASCII editors (then BRIEF,
now CRISP), it's a little more difficult.

I don't find lack of comments in autogenerated packages a problem since such
files tend to be barely readable because they are formatted for an 80-column
display.  Things get even more interesting if you use a lot of special



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