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Re: Re: UNDO and Mathematica - how useless is it?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg98470] Re: [mg98357] Re: UNDO and Mathematica - how useless is it?
  • From: "Paul Ellsmore" <paul.ellsmore at nanion.co.uk>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 04:56:12 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <200903251042.FAA24502@smc.vnet.net> <23582715.1238067049865.JavaMail.root@m02> <200904080648.CAA19620@smc.vnet.net>

As a novice myself, I waste hours because of this. What I try to do, if I
remember (!!!) is save my notebook before every edit (or after every
successful execution) to a filename with _x added to it. So, notebook.nb has
my latest clean, working code in it, and notebook_1.nb has edited code that
I'm not sure about. I might keep this numbering going even for successful
edits, if I am exploring an idea that I might want to drop at some point. 

I don't know how to do it, but surely someone out there could write a little
bit of code that would do what I do manually for every execution (or you
could probably think of better events to trigger it). It wouldn't bother me
if I ended up with dozens of similar notebooks, and I would be happy to
manually reset the system at sensible intervals.

Thinking about it, this sounds a little bit like what I imagine "Version
Control" would do. I do have WorkBench, but found it to be so much more
complicated than I expected that I haven't really worked out how to use it.
Would any WorkBench experts out there recommend it for an Undo workaround?
If so, I might put some effort into learning it.

Cheers,

Paul.

-----Original Message-----
From: meitnik [mailto:meitnik at gmail.com] 
Sent: 08 April 2009 07:49
To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
Subject: [mg98470] [mg98357] Re: UNDO and Mathematica - how useless is it?

An open letter to WRI, struggling with undo.

I am a disabled user (but am creative and intelligent) and a
prospective Home Edition buyer (I have finally got the funds in place
today). I *need* an Undo that really works. I make lots of typing
errors and yes logical errors too. Besides, being creative and
learning is making big and small mistakes and rethinking ones
direction. Forgiving software was part of the tech paradigm shift in
the 80s and 90s. Did WRI miss that while mastering CA patterns? While
learning Mathematica using a trial version, I already lost time/code
and become frustrated several times dealing with undo (sometimes it
sorta works sometimes its just stupid). Why make it so hard to undo?
Does not your QA fight for a real undo? Does not marketing understand
undo is a key selling feature? Perhaps for many all the power of
Mathematica alone compensates for its limited undo.

I have owned hundreds of software apps, beta-tested just as many over
my 30 years. I have never seen software that just fails so badly at
understanding undo. Perhaps a tutorial on how to deal with undo is
wanting, does one already exist?. At least document well how undo
works now. Offer tips and tricks how to manage mistakes/errors in
one's work other than the brute force of save as and duplicating
cells. Finally,  As a Mac user, undo is one of the prime directives of
OS X gui guidelines. WRI, don't you like having and using a real undo
for all your Mac apps (and later for Windows too). Yes, doing a real
undo is hard, but it is worth it and shows real respect to your users
both new and old. Come on guys, you are all smart enough!

If you are wanting to make the Home Edition market succeed, than you
need a reasonable undo working shortly in 3-5 months, not 2 years
later. I do not need to buy now Home Edition but I really want it now
but at the cost of dealing with unpleasant software? I value my time
and efforts, and yes undoing mistakes. Important features matter to
overall productivity and a sense of polish -- undo is one of them. You
want a sale, I want software that works as expected. I can wait it
out, for I waited 20 years for Mathematica to be within my reach at
age 50. A few more months or years is ok with me. I can set aside
those funds for another day. Maybe a formal petition is needed for a
proper undo??

If I have erred in my reasoning or understanding how undo currently
works, please educate me to be a better productive user of
Mathematica. I am willing to learn from my mistakes. Forgiveness in
people or software is cool.

Thank you for enduring my rant. I am off to soak my painful fingers
now...



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