Re: Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg88185] Re: [mg88109] Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?*From*: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>*Date*: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 07:00:33 -0400 (EDT)*References*: <fuhfdc$ihb$1@smc.vnet.net> <fuhrka$s88$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804211836.OAA09742@smc.vnet.net> <fukeo8$s2j$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804230807.EAA28845@smc.vnet.net> <fupm08$s2t$1@smc.vnet.net> <200804250927.FAA08078@smc.vnet.net>

On 25 Apr 2008, at 18:27, AES wrote: > In article <fupm08$s2t$1 at smc.vnet.net>, > Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl> wrote: > >> On 23 Apr 2008, at 17:07, AES wrote: >> >>> Is the primary market for Mathematica supposed to be >>> "Mathematica programmers", skilled in the arcana of the >>> more abstruse parts of Mathematica, or "ordinary users" >>> whose primary interests and skills lie in many, many other >>> fields -- and who want Mathematica to be (for them) just >>> an easy to learn, easy to use, easy to remember tool? >> >> Mathematica could not function the way it does unless it satisfied >> both types of users. It has to be powerful enough for professional >> programmers if not for other reason than just the fact that a large >> part of Mathematica itself (and all add on packages) are written in >> the Mathematica programming language. It also has to satisfy enough >> "ordinary users" for even more obvious reasons. In my opinion it has >> always performed both functions admirably. > > Fully and totally agree. > >> These "abstruse" parts of Mathematica are not obligatory for >> "ordinary >> users" but for Mathematica programmers and developers (and many >> "power >> users") they make life a lot easier. > > Also agree -- but my expectation would be that there are (or could > be -- > and should be) a *great* many more ordinary users than power users. > > So it's important for both types that *both* markets be well served -- > and especially the ordinary users, because there are so many more of > them. Getting their $$ is vital to the success of Matheamtica . > The power users > are savvy enough that if Mathematica is very good -- which it is -- > they'll wade > through minor difficulties. The ordinary users won't --- they'll go > elsewhere. Hmm... I did write: "It also has to satisfy enough "ordinary users" for even more obvious reasons." .... And anohter thing: I wonder what entitles you to consider yourself a spokesman for these "ordinary users" (who are "going to go elswhere"). Why not just speak for yourself? Judging by quite many "ordinary users" I known, the views you have been expressing, particularly those on the need for printed software manuals rather make you a memeber of a minority, and moreover a rather rapidly declining one. I for one, really hate printed software manuals. They occupy space, tend to vanish wihtout trace whenever I need them, and most of all, I can never remeber what I read in one of them when I actually try to work on my computer. I love printed books: my several "homes", in different parts of the world, are filled with books on literature, history, mathematics etc. in several languages but I have got rid of all my software manuals and do not wish to see another one ever again. Of course I realize that this is only one person's view but so is yours). > > >> I believe you are familiar with TeX; at least you mention it often >> enough. Do you seriously claim that Mathematica has more of these >> "abstruse parts" than TeX? Have you ever heard words like "TeXPert", >> "TexMaster" etc? Are you able to program or even understand a set of >> advanced TeX macros, like, for example, the AMS ones? > > I'm quite familiar with TeX and can "program" in it, though I'm not > really a TeXpert. Plain TeX is *much* less complex than Mathematica. > Several decades ago, in fact, the lab I was in had several > secretaries/technical typists in the so-called "Reports Group", > several > of whom had not finished high school --- but one could hand a > hand-written draft of a ms to them, full of complex math -- and they'd > turn it into TeX source. > > TeX is *much* smaller than Mathematica by whatever measure you like > (syntax, > size of code), and very well documented for ordinary or power users > (have a look at Knuth's TeXBook to understand this). You seem to have completely missed my point. You complained about "abstruse" Mathematica symbols such as @, /@, @@ etc. You seem to be oblivious to the fact that 1. You never need to use them yourself. Each of them can be replaced by a much more "readable form". 2. TeX uses special forms such as {,$, &, %,\ and plenty of even more "abstruse" instructions. A typical fragment of TeX code looks like this: {\xdef\asts{}\loop\ifnum\n>0\xdef\asts{\asts*}\advance\n-1\repeat} There is no possibility of writing this in any more legible way. Do you still insist that this is simpler than equivalent Mathematica code? Andrzej Kozlowski

**References**:**Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>

**Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>

**Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?***From:*AES <siegman@stanford.edu>