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Re: Comments on the .m file editor

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  • Subject: [mg87999] Re: Comments on the .m file editor
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 14:37:48 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <fu9fss$cdu$> <fuc828$a56$>

David Park wrote:
> I don't see the advantages of writing package with the .m file editor. 
> Normally I don't even look at the .m file. I would be interested in hearing 
> comments from some of the sophisticated users about when writing .m files 
> directly might be advantagous.
> Normally a routine should be written and debugged in a regular Mathematica 
> ..nb notebook. A debugging method that works for almost all cases and is very 
> easy to use is just to insert temporary Print statements into the routine.
> When a routine is debugged, and a usage message and SyntaxInformation are 
> written it can just be moved to a package.nb notebook with Initialization 
> cells that has been saved as an Auto Generated Package.
> That is by far the easiest method.
> You can put (* comments *) anywhere in a Mathematica expression but one very 
> negative feature of Mathematica is that if one uses Shift-Ctrl-N or 
> Shift-Ctrl-I to convert and reformat a cell it strips out all the comments. 
> I think comments should be considered a permanent part of an expression and 
> never stripped out by such reformating.
I find there are lots of advantages to having computer code in a simple 
text file. It makes it easy to use utilities like grep and file 
comparators, or to create your own utilities - such as a code indenter 
that works to your personal whim!

The ability to skip to a particular function or section is also convenient.

The time I must have wasted debugging AutoGenetated Page's in which one 
cell was accidentally not marked as Initialisation - editing one file is 
so much nicer.

David Bailey

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