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Re: Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg88169] Re: [mg88147] Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu>
  • Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 04:57:32 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <fuhfdc$ihb$1@smc.vnet.net> <fuhrka$s88$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804211836.OAA09742@smc.vnet.net> <fukeo8$s2j$1@smc.vnet.net> <fumqu8$sd1$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804260744.DAA08667@smc.vnet.net>
  • Reply-to: murray at math.umass.edu

I don't think it matters a whit which produces the longer program, 
Mathematica or APL.

What should matter is:

0. Which application implementation does the better job, including the 
quality of user interface, ease of teaching/learning the use, giving 
correct results, etc.

1. Which application requires the least programming time to produce.

2. Which application is easier to maintain over time, especially by 
somebody knowledgeable in the language but not necessarily already 
familiar with the internals of the particular application.

Luci Ellis wrote:
> On 23/04/08 10:10 AM, in article fumqu8$sd1$1 at smc.vnet.net, "AES"
> 
> <siegman at stanford.edu> wrote:
> 
> 
> 
>> In article <fukeo8$s2j$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
> 
>>  Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu> wrote:
> 
> 
>>> This comment about APL is quite wrong: nothing "compelled you" to write
> 
>>> "inscrutable single line programs" (except maybe in the earliest days,
> 
>>> when one was sending single lines over a telephone line to a mainframe,
> 
>>> then waiting for your instruction's turn to get its slice of time and
> 
>>> have the result sent back and typed at your terminal).
> 
> 
>>> With APL then, and with IBM's APL2 now, you MAY, if you wish, write
> 
>>> overly condensed one-liners.  And indeed some APL programmers aimed to
> 
>>> write as concise a program, all in one line, as they could possibly do.
> 
> 
>>       I'll totally concede your point here.  But I don't think it makes
> 
>>       my original comment "quite wrong", or even wrong at all.
> 
> 
>>       And I'm not attacking APL at all -- a great (if arcane)
> 
>>       intellectual achievement in computer science, and maybe
> 
>>       a great (if still arcane) tool for certain types of computation.
> 
>>       
> 
>>       But nonetheless, the arcane symbolic notation used in APL
> 
>>       tends to make even multi-line APL programs nearly as
> 
>>       inscrutable for all but APL experts.
> 
> 
> 
>>> What's more, many of the combinations of symbols in APL were instantly
> 
>>> recongnizable to any APL programmer as so-called "idioms".
> 
> 
>>       Again, happy to agree.  But, there aren't really a lot of
> 
>>       "APL programmers" around, right? -- and I'd bet that
> 
>>       they tend to be "programmers" employed as such, rather
> 
>>       than "ordinary users" from many other fields, who just
> 
>>       want to be get some computational task done in the
> 
>>       field where their skills primarily lie.
> 
> 
> 
> <much other interesting APL discussion snipped>
> 
> 
> 
> For what it's worth, I've recently been re-implementing the functionality of
> 
> our in-house APL application into Mathematica. My colleagues don't know I've
> 
> done this yet -- it's been a home project to get to know the new date and
> 
> time functionality in v6 better. (I don't actually know APL, but their
> 
> documentation is pretty thorough.)
> 
> 
> 
> It will be interesting to see which language produces the longer program.
> 
> 
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> Luci
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 

-- 
Murray Eisenberg                     murray at math.umass.edu
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305


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