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Re: Mathematica notebooks the best method

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg87170] Re: Mathematica notebooks the best method
  • From: David Reiss <dbreiss at>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 05:14:18 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <fsd6lf$9fn$> <fsg6t7$jdd$>

And indeed there is no reason not to author documents in Mathematica
and distribut them as both PDFs and Mathematica notebooks.
Mathematica Player will then allow the reader to read them in their
native format (and perhaps do some dynamic experiments with them if
they are digitally signed so that their Manipulates are functional);
anyone who chooses not to install Mathematica Player can make use of
the PDF version (or an HTML version, or one of the other set of output

The question of whether it should be a "standard" is different.
Perhaps, generally proprietary formats should not be a "standard." But
the key question there is price point.  Also the question is whether
one is defining "standard" to be exclusive of any other possibilities.
Price point should be low--though Microsoft office is not cheap and it
is unfortunately considered a "standard"--or zero, and functionality
should be high.   There really is no sensible reason why, given the
existence of Mathematica Player, Mathematica notebooks should not be
acceptable as one of the key distribution formats for technical
documents: there are just too many reasons involving the incredible
breadth of what you can do with it to pass it up.  Why limit
publishing to static material?

PDFs are considered a "standard" distribution format largely because
of the free Acrobat reader.  TeX is a "standard" because it is a
wonderful old workhorse that was adopted into the technical publishing
industry when electronic typesetting was in its infancy and using such
technologies was forward looking, extendable, and free.

Of course some aspects of a discussion such as this are admittedly
religious...  :-)

And I admit that I use Mathematica for essentially everything. And I
extend its use and scope  whenever I see a need.  These personal needs
ultimately lead me to create  for
just such purposes...

Hope this helps,
A WorkLife FrameWork
E x t e n d i n g MATHEMATICA's Reach...
Trial Version at:

On Apr 2, 4:00 am, Andrzej Kozlowski <a... at> wrote:
> I agree with everything below but to tell the truth I can't see what  
> is supposed to be the point of this entire thread. If one wants to  
> write a research paper using Mathematica and submit it to a print or  
> on-line journal one needs only to convert it to pdf and it should then  =

> be acceptable in many cases it would be (assuming of course that the  
> contents are good enough). If one wants in addition to provide people  
> who are able to use Mathematica with live calculations one can put a  
> Mathematica notebook for download on a web page. I can't see why  
> anyone should wish for more or argue against this. The rest seems to  
> me a complete waste of time and effort and some of what I have read I  
> actually found quite funny (comical) though I assume it was meant to  
> be serious.
> A completely different issue is whether academic institutions should  
> provide their students with the opportunity to discover the (in my  
> opinion) very remarkable possibilities offered by the latest version  
> of Mathematica. That's all that my own response was concerned with.  
> This is a real issue while a discussion of "publishing standards" is a  =

> waste of time.
> I should like to repeat that I have yet to meet a student who would  
> complain about the lack of a printed manual and I think using that as  
> an argument against Mathematica is a perfect example of the sort of  
> academic attitude I referred to in my first response.
> Andrzej Kozlowski
> On 30 Mar 2008, at 08:16, Murray Eisenberg wrote:
> > djvu vs. pdf: no big deal.  Tex vs. Mathematica: BIG deal!
> > With djvu and pdf, it's merely a matter of the final format in which  =

> > the
> > document appears and is disseminated.
> > With (La)TeX and Mathematica, there's a crucial difference in the  
> > entire
> > authoring process.  Among other things:
> >   (1) (La)TeX concentrates upon the logical structure of the document,=

> > whereas Mathematica from the start involves the actual appearance of  =

> > the
> > document.
> >   (2) Typing math markup is typically quicker in (La)TeX than in
> > Mathematica, as it avoids Control-key sequences (unless one is using  =

> > an
> > editor where such sequences are used as shortcuts) or at least uses
> > shorter keystroke-only sequences.
> >   (3) Mathematica allows live calculations in the document itself,
> > whereas TeX does not (except of the most primitive kind).  
> > Exception: a
> > specialized TeX+CAS system.
> >   (4) Mathematica creates graphics of all sorts directly in the
> > document, whereas with the exception of a limited number of native or
> > package add-on graphics types, graphics must be imported into a TeX
> > document from an external source (such as Mathematica)!
> > There are two other another differences:
> >   (5) One can have an entire TeX document preparation system --  
> > editor,
> > TeX engine plus packages, viewer, and converter (dvi to ps or pdf,  
> > e.g.)
> > -- for free.  Needless to say, Mathematica is not free.
> >   (6) The source code for TeX and many or most of the supporting
> > utilities is open source; this is certainly not the case for  
> > Mathematica.
> > Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
> >> ...I would like to point out that "publishing standards" are not
> >> set in stone. For several years I have witnessed PDF visibly loosing
> >> ground to djvu in the mathematical preprint area. I like with many
> >> other things I learned about it first form students, who quickly
> >> understood its technical superiority over PDF (most of all, much
> >> smaller file size). Now I see that a number of on-line mathematics
> >> journals are offering djvu as an alternative to pdf.
> > --
> > Murray Eisenberg                     mur... at math.uma=
> > Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
> > Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
> > University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 =
> > 710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
> > Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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