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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Re: more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in Mathematica

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  • Subject: [mg77862] Re: more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in Mathematica
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 07:06:05 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <f530gp$16k$>

Nasser Abbasi wrote:
> 1) so I start DC, and click on the "index of functions" link, near the 
> bottom, and after a little while, I get a new screen showing all the 
> functions listed alphabetically. Great, I said, now I can see all the 
> functions out there in one place.
> I searched for the function PrincipalComponents but it is NOT listed.
> But if one does search for PrincipalComponents from that DC tiny search 
> window (after erasing what was there every time), this function comes up.
> So why was it not lised in the index of functions output?
> Does this mean that the "index of functions" only lists those functions that 
> does not exist inside packages which requires loading first?  This makes 
> this listing less effective then.
> 2) When I ask DC to search for something, there is no indication it is busy 
> searching. On a slow PC, one thinks it is frozen, or may be the command did 
> not 'go through',  and tries the same search command again. There should be 
> something spinning or some indication that the command was actually accepted 
> and being processed. This is a UI design 101 thing.
> Sometimes DC takes more than 5 seconds to return a result on my old PC.
> 3)For whatever it is worth, I still think the 5.2 help system is MUCH better 
> for learning and finding what is in the new system.
> I do not really need the DC as it is, I can just as well use Google 
> directly, which I find myself doing more, since the same information in DC 
> is already on WRI web pages and Google finds it just as fast. The earlier 
> help system provided a structure to the documentation which added an exrtra 
> dimension which DC does not provide.
> The people have spoken: We want the the old help system back. (WRI could 
> always keep the new DC for those users who prefer Google style 
> documentation).
> Thank you for listening.
> Nasser
Yes, I too hope they will upgrade the next version of Mathematica by 
putting back the old help system - for most of the reasons you have 

Wouldn't it be great to have 6.0 functionality with a 5.2-style help system!

David Bailey

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