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Re: Text search within a documentation page?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg90910] Re: Text search within a documentation page?
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 01:38:56 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <g670lq$s3a$1@smc.vnet.net> <g69fvk$ii1$1@smc.vnet.net> <g6kc1q$k53$1@smc.vnet.net>

In article <g6kc1q$k53$1 at smc.vnet.net>, Bob F <deepyogurt at gmail.com> 
wrote:

> On Jul 26, 2:24 am, AES <sieg... at stanford.edu> wrote:
> > In article <g6c9dg$c1... at smc.vnet.net>, David Reiss <dbre... at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > No, AES is right in some cases for the Documentation Center pages.
> > > Some Documentation Center pages are peculiar in some ways in terms of
> > > using Mathematica's search capabilities.
> 
> You can use the Web version of the "Documentation Center" and it does
> not have this problem.

   Great idea!


> > Another peculiarity is that in the "Search Result" pages (which
> > sometimes -- often? -- open when you enter a term or select a symbol
> > name in a Mathematica notebook and click on Help), there are cases where
> > a search within that Search Result page for, e.g. "Plot" (with Ignore
> > Case checked) will cycle through all the occurrences of plot or Plot in
> > the tiny-type text of the links on the page -- but never touch the Plot
> > string in the titles of the links on the page, e.g. Plot3D.
> 
> Online version doesn't have this problem either. But maybe neither
> does the local version I just discovered. It seems that if you use the
> "Previous | Next" links to go to another page of the found  items, the
> "Find" window's Next button appears not to work, but if you click on
> the "Previous" button, the strings are found in reverse. So it would
> appear that when you use the "Previous | Next" feature, the position
> of the start of the search is at the bottom of the page, and even
> though the "Wrap around" checkbox is checked it doesn't wrap around.
> Sure looks like a bug to me??

   Don't know if it's a "bug" or "just the way it works", but this
   is consistent with what I've seen.


> > 1)  Safari has a beautiful search function where, if you've opened an
> >
> > Gorgeous technique to use; best one I'm aware of.
> 
> I agree 100% with this, and on top of that Safari highlights all the
> occurrences of the searched string on the page so they are very easy
> to visually pick out. Also if you use the web version of the
> Documentation Center, this is completely doable right now.

   That's great also!  I'll try it immediately.  WRI, take note -- you've
   now got two of us telling you this.


> Sometimes I think that I would love to have a PDF version of the
> Documentation Center available -- would think is this something that
> Wolfram could generate?, but know it would be immense, so maybe this
> is not practical. But the ability to insert my own comments and put in
> my own bookmarks, and all the other things that you do with PDF files
> in Acrobat would make this something I would like to have available to
> find out.

Doing this would seem to me to be not only practicable but in fact a 
trivially _easy_ task for WRI.  All the data for the built-in non-web 
version is already on users' hard disks as part of the Mathematica 
installation -- is that not so?  Printing it to a PDF version would be a 
trivially automated task for the WRI people who know the system and the 
material, and it's hard to believe that the size as a PDF would greatly 
exceed what's already there.  

Either WRI or those of us with Acrobat could then index our own copy 
using Acrobat's excellent document indexing tools (all the unhelpful 
Mathematica Search Pages would become unnecessary).  Reading and 
printing the PDF pages in Adobe's own interface (Acrobat or just Reader) 
would become immensely easily easier than in the Mathematica interface.  
And, we could do all the personalized modifications that you suggest.

I don't know what kind of blindness it is within WRI that has led to the 
current documentation disaster for Mathematica (and that's truly what it 
is).  The currently available documentation is not particularly bad as 
_reference_ documentation; but it is very badly done and badly 
structured as _user_ documentation, and could be made vastly more 
friendly and helpful with very little work.  Great companies are 
supposedly made great by paying close attention to their customers.  
I've yet to see any real recognition of that in Mathematica -- at least 
not for the kind of customers I'm associated with.

"Over and out" as radio operators supposedly say -- I think I've done 
all the debating on this issue that I'm willing to do, especially given 
the deafness with which it seems to be received.


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