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Re: Re: my wish list for Mathematica next major version

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  • Subject: [mg60068] Re: [mg60064] Re: my wish list for Mathematica next major version
  • From: "Hermann Schmitt" <schmitther at>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 02:13:05 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

----- Original Message -----
From: <carlos at>
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg60068] [mg60064] Re: my wish list for Mathematica next major version

> I fully agree with the first item.  Each year I normally teach
> 3  engineering courses (2 graduate, 1 undergraduate)
> that use Mathematica  as one of the tools for problem
> solving.  Typical undergraduate enrollment: 80-100,
> graduate: 35-50, so it is not a tiny sample.
> By far the 3 biggest complaints heard year after year:
> 1) Incomprehensible and untraceable error messages.

In the default case Mathematica collects the error messages and prints them
at the end of the program. This is the same other languages do. But other
languages make a reference to the statement, which caused the error with the
line number or something similar. Mathematica normally does not do this.
This makes it often difficult - if not impossible - to find the statement
which caused the error.
In my oo system I changed the default behavior of Mathematica:
If  Mathematica encounters an error, an error message of the following kind
is is printed:
Error -> Exit
Then the program stops immediately.
This makes it easy to find the statement in error, it is the last statement

To get this kind of behavior it suffices to load my oo system. It is not
necessary to execute any statement of my system.
See the web pages under

Hermann Schmitt

> 2) Lack of a simple debugger.  Doesnt have to be GUI or
>      incremental. Anything is better than nothing.
> 3) Lack of  effective interrupts.  If user commands a stop,
>      stop instantly, wherever you are in a cell, and tell
>      user exactly where it did.
> These are  largely beginner users, not difficult to please.
> For 1) they would be ecstatic with  a low-tech  device
> called a line number.
> In[] and Out[]  baffle beginners since they are dynamic.
> Since they serve no useful purpose, as a teacher I  would
> be very happy to see that  1980's anachronism removed,
> and replaced by invariant markers.

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