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Re: Re: :: notation

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg77772] Re: [mg77712] Re: :: notation
  • From: Carl Woll <carlw at>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 03:33:34 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <f4r4fu$a36$> <>

Szabolcs wrote:

>Andrew Moylan wrote:
>>What are the properties of the :: notation? As in the following:
>>function::usage = "bla";
>>Where can I read about this notation in the documentation?
>You can check its FullForm and see that it is called MessageName, then 
>search for "MessageName" the the v6 doc center.
>Or you can use the much better 5.2 documentation to look it up directly ;)
There are aspects of the 5.2 documentation that people miss in 6, but 
surely the documentation for a particular function is generally much 
better in 6 than in 5.2. If we compare MessageName in 5.2 vs 6, we see 
that the notes are identical, but 6 includes several examples involving 
MessageName which 5.2 does not.

Also, for looking up specific function help, I don't think 5.2 and 6 are 
that different. In both 5.2 and 6 we can do


and then click on the link to get the MessageName help. Also, in both 
5.2 and 6, if you type


in the notebook, put the mouse pointer inside the word and then click 
find selected function, you will go directly to the MessageName page.

I think the only place where 5.2 is different, and more convenient for 
finding help on a specific function, is when one looks up a function 
after opening the help browser. In this case the lookup field is 
selected and blank. Moreover, as you type different entries in an 
hierarchical table of contents are highlighted.

In my usage of Mathematica, I usually know which function I want to use, 
and I'll type it into the notebook. At that point, sometimes I'm not 
sure about an aspect of using that function, so I'll move the mouse 
pointer to the function and hit 'Find selected function', bringing up 
the help for that function, which in general is very complete and 
useful. Consequently, for me the help in 6 is much better than in 5.2 as 
the function page documentation is better.

Are there other issues related to finding help for a specific function 
that make 6 worse than 5.2?

Carl Woll
Wolfram Research

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