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MathGroup Archive 2006

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Re: Re: General--Making the DisplayFormula style in ArticleModern look like Traditional

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg65022] Re: [mg64930] Re: General--Making the DisplayFormula style in ArticleModern look like Traditional
  • From: ggroup at sarj.ca
  • Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2006 23:57:40 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <dujsgg$97j$1@smc.vnet.net> <200603080559.AAA03052@smc.vnet.net>
  • Reply-to: ggroup at sarj.ca
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at 12:59 AM, Paul Abbott wrote:

> This assumes that people will be typing in electronic code from an
> electronic document by hand! Surely you would agree that the need to do 
> this archaic practice is rapidly diminishing? And, indeed, it is part of 
> the whole rationale behind the use of Notebooks.

What if I need/want to modify the code?  Or what about people who
learn best by reproducing the work from "scratch"?  One needs to be
careful about making assumptions about generalized work and learning
habits.

>> there isn't any simple way to use Mathematica's help browser to look up details of the function.

> Of course, if you have the Notebook you can always convert the 
> TraditionalForm -> StandardForm and then select the function to look up.

You need to define who is your target audience. Are you only writing
for people who know the nth detail of Mathematica, or are you writing
for a generalized audience? If it's the former, then this discussion
is somewhat moot, those readers will likely know the tricks to find
the relevant information. But a generalized audience probably won't.

There is also a huge assumption here; even if the reader has been
using Mathematica for years, there is no reason to believe that they
would necessarily have discovered that TraditionalForm or StandardForm
exist. After all, it is possible to use Mathematica (effectively I
might add) purely as a computational environment with little or no
energy devoted to producing a formatted document.

> However, what would be smart in such cases is for "Find Selected
> Function..." to go to the Head of the function (in the StandardForm 
> case) or the TagBox (in the TraditionalForm case), both of which would 
> take you to the entry for LegendreP.

You've used some very high level concepts that are (as far as I can
tell) fairly specific to Mathematica. What is a Head or a TagBox? (I'm
asking rhetorically.) In my experience, your use needs to have a
certain level of sophistication before a user would be familiar with
such concepts. Of course, this depends on how you've approached
learning Mathematica.

>> No, that assumption is not correct. If all readers of TMJ did have access to
>> the Notebooks or were reading the electronic version within Mathematica, 
>> there wouldn't be much issue.

> Well, all Premier Service subscribers can read TMJ for free. See e.g.,
>  
>   http://www.wolfram.com/news/mathwire/mw-08-2005.html

> Universities with site-licenses may also have Premier Service (mine has).

So are Premier Service subscribers the only targeted audience?  Is the
Journal intended for nobody else?

>> For myself, I've come to prefer StandardForm as the default input form and 
>> TraditionalForm as the default output form. Occasionally, when I need to 
>> share something with a colleague who doesn't use Mathematica, I convert input 
>> cells to TradiationalForm. But I really see no benefit to having the default 
>> input set to TraditionalForm nor taking time to convert StandardForm to 
>> TradiationalForm in notebooks I create for myself.

> It is, of course, a matter of taste and preference. I regularly switch 
> between formats.

Sure, but isn't that the crux of the discussion? Which is the better
format when presenting Mathematica-specific code to the TMJ audience?
So far, it seems that your position depends on what people *could* or
perhaps *should* be doing in principle. Perhaps unfortunately, as an
author / publisher, one needs to cater to what the target audience
*is* doing in practice.




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