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Re: Not Using a Text Editor Interface for Mathematica

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg64473] Re: Not Using a Text Editor Interface for Mathematica
  • From: grub_snuffler at
  • Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 02:49:58 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <dt48rf$311$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I started one of these recent threads, and while I appreciate what
you're saying, my actual complaint (I gather the others had a different
slant) wasn't with the notebook paradigm.  I want the notebook idea, I
just can't stand Mathematica's style choices.

I find it easier to read programs written in c/c++, because the fonts,
spacing, colors and  such are much more easily set to my tastes (oh,
and because of use of underscores in variable and function names.)
This is the beginning and end of my point. I'm not criticising the
notebook paradigm (though I don't write very large scale applications).

I gather that deep down, Mathematica can be made closer to a text-editor in
style, but using the notebook options in Mathematica is like graphing in Mathematica.
Sure it's flexible, but it's needlessly difficult to get things exactly
as you want them.

Look at it this way:

(1) Computer programmers do the most computer programming (natch) and
therefore need the best possible programming environment.

(2)  They are the most qualified to do something about said environment
 if they don't like that it.

And yet, after decades, the basic working environment is still a
syntax-highlighted text editor (THAT LETS YOU TAB WHEN YOU WANT
DAMNIT!!! ).  If you were to add things like (optional) auto-completion
with function argument hints (a la MS VC++), then it would be pretty
close to perfect.

Wolfram has some brilliant programmers, but I think they need to
concentrate on ease-of-use issues.  Actually, I know from a friend who
spoke to Stephan Wolfram himself they're working on improving the their
rotten [my word] graphing capabilities.  Hopefully they'll work on the
front end while they're at it.


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