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MathGroup Archive 2007

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

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg77893] RE: [mg77862] Re: more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in Mathematica
  • From: José Luis Gómez-Muñoz <jose.luis.gomez at itesm.mx>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 06:38:41 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <f530gp$16k$1@smc.vnet.net> <200706181106.HAA19804@smc.vnet.net>

I love Mathematica. I really hope our comments can help making a great
product even better.

The v6.0 Documentation Center has a lot more examples (than the old v5.2
help), many of them really really neat. So why we (some of the users) do not
like it?

In my case, because I cannot see the structure that I was able to see in
v5.2 Help Browser. Maybe the structure is there, but I cannot see it.

Let me quote Kovas Boguta, from Wolfram Research, in his post to the Wolfram
Blog, he was writing about a very different topic, but I think we can apply
it here:
"An English phrase is built of subphrases. A mathematical formula is built
of subformulas. A musical score is built of bars, which contain notes. A web
page layout is built from sublayouts. When humans want to communicate
nontrivial structures, they use hierarchical nesting."
http://blog.wolfram.com/2007/06/symbolic_programming_computati.html#more 

That is, in my opinion, the main thing that v6.0 help lost (as compare with
v5.2 help): (explicit) hierarchical structure.

Now I quote myself. Sorry for that, I really want to be useful. In another
reply, I wrote:

>I believe that Szabolcs has described precisely the "problem"
>with v6.0 documentation: If v5.2 help seemed to be a (safe) Tree, now 
>v6.0 help seems to be a (unsafe) Labyrinth.
>
>The tree-like structure of v5.2 help browser helps the end user have 
>the feeling that s/he will eventually be able to know everything that 
>has to be known about a specific topic. Just have to "travel" and spend 
>enough time "inside" all the relevant branches.
>
>That comfortable sensation was lost in v6.0 Documentation Center.  

Again, I really hope all this considerations are useful for the great team
at WRI.

Regards

Jose


-----Mensaje original-----
De: David Bailey [mailto:dave at Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk] 
Enviado el: Lunes, 18 de Junio de 2007 06:06 a.m.
Para: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
Asunto: [mg77862] Re: more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in
Mathematica

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 
mentioned!

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

David Bailey
http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk



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