MathGroup Archive 2009

[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]

Search the Archive

Re: Linking Manipulate to arrow keys?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg101932] Re: Linking Manipulate to arrow keys?
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 03:56:37 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <h42u3p$pba$>

In article <h42u3p$pba$1 at>, John Fultz <jfultz at> 

> On Sun, 19 Jul 2009 07:13:37 -0400 (EDT), AES wrote:
> > Any simple way to link the "+" and "-" (Step Forward and Step Backward)
> > buttons in a discrete (or even continuous) Manipulation to the Right
> > Arrow and Left Arrow keys on your keyboard?
> If the presence of a Manipulate were to steal the focus of the entire 
> application, I'd be inclined to agree with you.  But recall that it's
> still part of a fully interactive and editable document.  the arrow keys
> are still useful for editing and selection, both outside and inside the
> Manipulate.  Examples inside the Manipulate include the InputFields
> driving the sliders and the actual content of the Manipulate.
> Also, it would be awkward if you had multiple sliders...which slider are you
> presently changing?
> One reasonable and non-confusing way to do something like this would be to 
> support keyboard focus on the controls directly.  This is done obviously and
> ubiquitously in standard dialog box interfaces under Windows/X, and is also
> possible on the Mac (although I believe you may have to turn on some sort of
> special accessibility mode to affect sliders and such).  This is certainly 
> something we're interested in incorporating into Mathematica-generated UIs 
> (including, but not limited to, Manipulate), but I can't guarantee when
> you'll see it happen.
> Sincerely,
> John Fultz


Thanks much for a helpful, informative, and straightforward reply.  I 
can appreciate that the considerations you describe would complicate 
implementing the capability I inquired about . 

But at the same time, key-stroke-activated stepping is such an obviously 
useful capability for any kind of "live" demonstration or live display 
or live experimentation; and this capability is so widely (near 
universally) available in innumerable other apps (surely you've 
key-stepped forward and back through slide shows animations, or 
Quicktime movies) that it sure would be nice if Manipulate could "just 
do it" also.

[Moving one meta level higher, I'd have to say that, for me anyway, the 
inherent difficulties you cite in doing this provide one more 
illustration -- a minor one but not trivial one -- of why Conrad 
Wolfram's idea that Mathematica should be a single, total, universal 
system for doing everything (rather than taking some much more modular 
approach) is a fundamentally misguided and generally bad idea.]

But thanks again for an informative reply.


  • Prev by Date: Aggregating data and graphing it
  • Next by Date: RE: Re: Product::write : Tag List is Protected Error
  • Previous by thread: Re: Linking Manipulate to arrow keys?
  • Next by thread: Invisible - misleading documentation