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Re: Does Mathematica really need more printed, introductory documentation?

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  • Subject: [mg88307] Re: Does Mathematica really need more printed, introductory documentation?
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at>
  • Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 03:21:18 -0400 (EDT)

On 4/30/08 at 4:26 AM, siegman at (AES) wrote:

>In article <fv6uoq$rpc$1 at>,
>Bill Rowe <readnews at> wrote:

>>Given it has only been a few months since Mathematica 6 was
>>released and the time it takes to write any text and get it
>>published it should not be surprising there are not any third party
>>books on Mathematica yet. But given the number of books published
>>for previous versions, it seems certain there will be books for
>>version 6 in due time.

>Bill, it's been for all practical purposes a _year_ now since
>Mathematica 6 was released.

Well, I was going to say I did not get version  that long ago.
But then I checked to see when I got version 6 and indeed it has
been nearly a year. I had not realized I had been using version
6 that long.

>And though I don't have a cite at hand, I'm sure I've read about how
>major software companies, when they have a major emerging project or
>upgrade under development, will invite a selected author or authors
>with a good track record to come into their company and give them
>substantial access to advance knowledge about the developing product
>--- with appropriate nondisclosure agreements of course --- just so
>their book or manual can appear on the shelves at the same instant
>the product is released.

>A software company may do this because they don't want to divert
>in-house resources from product development to preparing an book for
>the emerging product or upgrade --- or they may do this even though
>they're developing their own manual also, on the grounds that "the
>more, the better" so far as manuals go; they're in the software
>business, not the manual business.

>To be frank I just cannot imagine Wolfram Research not having done
>the same.

I've no idea whether Wolfram has done as you suppose above or
not. It seems to me it might be equally reasonable to assume
Wolfram made a decision not to support published documentation.
But whether or not Wolfram did as you suppose above, there don't
seem to be any third party books out yet that reflect version 6.

So, either it takes longer than you expect to create and publish
such books, no one started as long ago as you might think or no
one feels it worthwhile to create such books. Given the number
of books published for previous versions, I don't think the last
possibility is credible. That is, I expect there will be books
out for version 6 at some point. You simply have to wait.

Meanwhile, you have access to the same documentation as everyone else.

And while I agree, the online documentation doesn't fill every
need I might have for documentation it does provide a list of
new functions and sufficient information to allow me to use
them. Perhaps, it will be necessary to do more work than you
would prefer to get the information you want. But this is
nothing more than anyone else has to do at this time.

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