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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Re: Re: :: notation

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg77811] Re: [mg77712] Re: :: notation
  • From: "Szabolcs Horvát" <szhorvat at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2007 06:08:28 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <f4r4fu$a36$1@smc.vnet.net> <200706150839.EAA16034@smc.vnet.net>

On 15/06/07, Carl Woll <carlw at wolfram.com> wrote:
> Szabolcs wrote:
> 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
>
> MessageName
>
> 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

You are right, I should not have said that the 5.2 documentation is
"much better" than the new one. I apologise for this. In fact I find
the *content* of the documentation pages better in v6.

For looking up ::, the difference is that if I type :: in the search
field in the v6 documentation center, I get not results, while it
works perfectly with 5.2.
http://reference.wolfram.com/search.html?query=::&collection=reference

But this is just an isolated example, and as you pointed out, there
are several other ways for looking up ::.

For looking up specific functions, the new Documentation Center is
just as good (or even better) than the old one. The reason for my
frustration with it is that it does not have a table of contents.
Sometimes I do not know which function to use in a certain situation.
In v5.2 I can go through the table of contents and read the
description of every single function in a section. I v6 I can never be
sure that I didn't miss something, because there is no simple way to
go through all the symbol names and check their documentation. It is
possible that this is a false perception, but the 5.2 documentation
*feels* much more transparent because I always know my exact position
in the table of contents, and once I found a page, it is easy to go
back to it again. The v6 documentation seems like a fuzzy collection
of pages connected by random links, like a labyrinth. It is not a bad
thing to have many links, but in addition to this there should be one
clear way to walk through all the pages.

I hope that my problems with English grammar did not make this message
completely unintelligible ...

Szabolcs


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