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Re: "Do What I Mean" - a suggestion for improving Mathematica experience
On 2/28/09 at 6:42 AM, davidbak at gmail.com (David Bakin) wrote: >A few days ago I posted that Mathematica should have a "DWIM" >feature - "Do What I Mean". Until there is a mind to Mathematica interface, there is really no way for this to be successful. Short of reading a users mind, there is no way to be certain as to what was meant by a given input. <snip> >Some situations that could be addressed are: >1. User writes "xy" instead of "x y". Rule could inspect the >expression under evaluation and find (unevaluated) symbols like "xy" >of the form "<prefix><suffix>" where both "<prefix>" and "<suffix>" >were either symbols used in the expression or symbols bound in the >environment. Rule would explain the problem and offer to rewrite >expression and try again. A common notation in statistics is Subscript[s,xy] typically meaning the covariance of x and y. Since Mathematica by default doesn't handle subscripted variables well, I might choose to use xy to represent the covariance of x and y. How, could you determine I meant a new variable xy instead of the product x y? Think of other issues surrounding naming of variables or other common errors. New users often use single capital letters as variable names. Additionally, new users often use ( instead of [. Given this how do you determine intent when N is used? The software I most dislike is software that attempts to be "helpful" by correcting my "errors". Well written descriptive error messages are good and appropriate when the software cannot parse my input. But re-writing my input into some other form because there is an assumption of error is very very undesired.