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Re: Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?
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
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