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Re: Range of Use of Mathematica

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  • Subject: [mg88929] Re: Range of Use of Mathematica
  • From: Michael Weyrauch <michael.weyrauch at>
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 14:52:39 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: T-Online
  • References: <g0m8tt$14$> <g0rkfr$dtv$> <g0tr25$mn1$>
  • Reply-to: michael.weyrauch at


   well, I disagree, Workbench can only be used together *with* a 
Notebook. Mathematica always "runs" in some kind of Notebook interface 
(if not used in batch mode) and Workbench is just an add-on for *major* 

I can also not see that there are two documentation systems. There is 
just one in addition to legacy documentation. I believe that for those 
users, who have intrinsically "understood" the basic idea of the 
Mathematica system and its language (and that is a really difficult 
step), the new hyperlinked documentation is just fine and practical to 
find the way through the jungle of commands and options, with a printed 
book this would be just impossible. (Of course, many details in the 
documentation should be improved and even enlarged.)

   However, I agree that the possibilities the whole Mathematica system 
(including Workbench) provides for "using" it, e.g. for package 
development, are rather varied, that even seasoned users cannot easily 
make out "best practices", or to say it in terms of AES, see a "product 
strategy". So it is indeed not easy to decide, if to use Workbench for 
development or the built-in package editor. It may be that Wolfram 
decided to devlop various lines of interface elements, and see how they 
work and people like it... and to decide later what to keep and what to 

   I personally like to have many options to choose from, but the 
variety, of course, can be tremendously confusing to casual users.

Michael Weyrauch

David Bailey schrieb:
> 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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