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Re: Range of Use of Mathematica

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  • Subject: [mg88885] Re: Range of Use of Mathematica
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 02:27:55 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <g0m8tt$14$> <g0rkfr$dtv$>

AES wrote:
........... What is, or what could be, or should be,
> the _strategic vision_ for Mathematica, as a system or as a product line 
> or as a useful tool or even as a communications standard?  And then, as 
> a necessary of this strategic vision, what is really the target market 
> or audience for Mathematica?
.........  with user documentation being the most obvious area for
> this kind of criticism.

I feel I know what AES means. I have been in the software business for 
an awfully long time, and one problem that happens over and over again, 
is that an OS, computer language, or application starts life as exciting 
but limited, evolves through a series of new versions into something 
really powerful and versatile, and then decays into something bloated 
and un-loved. The best example of this phenomenon would be Microsoft 
Windows, but there are many others.

I would hate to see Mathematica follow this route - though maybe it is 
as inevitable as human senescence and death, I don't know!

One sign of bloat, is that there are now two major interfaces - notebook 
and Workbench (not to mention Math.exe) and such a profusion of commands 
and options that even those of us that use the product regularly cannot 
hope to be familiar with more than a smallish subset. There are also two 
help systems! This has, unfortunately, impacted on the quality of 
documentation. My advice to a beginner would be to read the V5.0 or even 
V4.0 documentation (plus a few tips about the changes in Graphics) to 
get some idea of the way the system works.

I think WRI would gain a lot by dedicating one or two sessions at the 
conference in the Autumn to discussing these issues.

David Bailey

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