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Re: Wolfram User Interface Research? [off-topic!]

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg88136] Re: Wolfram User Interface Research? [off-topic!]
  • From: Steve Gray <stevebg at roadrunner.com>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 03:42:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <fuhfdc$ihb$1@smc.vnet.net> <fuhrka$s88$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804211836.OAA09742@smc.vnet.net> <fukeo8$s2j$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804230807.EAA28845@smc.vnet.net> <fupm6e$s5o$1@smc.vnet.net>

>You'd be surprised (or perhaps not) at how many mathematicians, 
>scientists, and engineers I know say about Mathematica something that 
>many have said about APL: that it's too hard to learn and too strange 
>and unfamiliar, i.e., either unlike traditional mathematical notation or 
>unlike FORTRAN and a certain CAS that's a glorified, enhanced FORTRAN.
>

	About my experience with Mathematica: I've been using it for several
years and always getting what I want done with less frustration and
much more productivity than if I were using C (which I hate). There
are still large parts of Mathematica that I don't know and don't use, but one
can ease into programming it by starting off with plain old procedural
methods and put in more functional methods in time. If I need lots of
speed in parts of my code, I've posted the problem here and have
gotten very good responses. 
	One off-putting feature of Mathematica is the ability to write (if not
always to read!) code that consists of strings of $&~/_@, etc. I know
some but not all of them but use them sparingly because I have to read
code I wrote a few years ago and those obscure strings makes that
harder.
	Of course learning lists is essential from the beginning, but
I found that to be intuitive and quite appealing, even though I had
not used LISP or any other list-oriented language previously.
	Even though I paid for Mathematica myself, I have found it to be well
worth the money.
	(Just to show that I'm not being paid by WRI for this, I think
NKS is a total crock, and I worked on CA for years.)

Steve Gray


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