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Re: Re: Show and 6.0

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg89520] Re: [mg89495] Re: Show and 6.0
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 05:15:29 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <g2ij15$rnk$1@smc.vnet.net> <g2lb77$946$1@smc.vnet.net> <200806110716.DAA14841@smc.vnet.net>

On 11 Jun 2008, at 16:16, AES wrote:

> I've just read the three most recent posts in this thread (as they
> appear in my newsreader anyway), and I'd suggest that what is most
> interesting about them is the very substantial _differences_ in
> interpretation and emphasis and viewpoint between these posts --- in
> fact, I think they fairly could be described as very considerable
> contradictions  --- especially between the posts by David Park and  
> Bill
> Rowe.
>
> And examining the Help for ";" shows how inadequate it is for  
> resolving
> these differing viewpoints.
>
> And all of this, by illustrating the potential for confusion that can
> arise at even this elementary level of Mathematica input syntax, and  
> the
> differing impressions that users can form, emphasizes once again the
> need for clear and helpful and much better _user_ education and
> documentation (as contrasted to formal or reference documentation).
>
> And, just to flog the horse once more, how poorly WRI has met this  
> need.
>

The meaning of ";" is not new to Mathematica 6. This meaning has not  
changed since the release of the first version of Mathematica.

As you yourself have already admitted, you are aware that there are  
dozens of books (in addition to the giant reference book by Wolfram)  
that explain such things (among which I would choose David Wagner's  
"Power Programing with Mathematica" and  Gaylord, Kamin, Wellin  
Introduction to Programming with Mathematica as the best written in  
terms of clarity and the ability to hold the reader's attention).
While you have been complaining about the absence of "clear and  
helpful" new printed books about Mathematica 6,  you have also made is  
clear that you have never tried reading *any* of the existing ones  
that explaining the basics of the language: I am pretty sure it would  
be impossible to read  any of them without learning about FullForm and  
CompoumdExpression. As for Wolfram's huge book, while excellent as a  
on-line reference, I consider it totally unreadable (and I have good  
reasons to believe that the people who most lament its absence in  
Mathematica 6 have never actually read the earlier versions). I  
understand that many Mathematica users would give up after reading  
just a few pages of this hige "brick" - I think reading "The  
Mathematica Book" is about as interesting and useful as reading the  
telephone directory of a large city. But there is not excuse at all  
not to have read any of the existing excellent books on Mathematica   
and then complaining about there not being more of them (presumably so  
that you could not read them also).

Andrzej Kozlowski 


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