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Re: Re: New Wolfram Tutorial Collection documentation is ready

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg99609] Re: [mg99284] Re: New Wolfram Tutorial Collection documentation is ready
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at wolfram.com>
  • Date: Sat, 9 May 2009 03:20:48 -0400 (EDT)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at wolfram.com

A followup to an earlier post of mine (snipping the irrelevant bits out)...


On Sat, 2 May 2009 11:36:22 -0500, John Fultz wrote:
> On Sat, 2 May 2009 05:55:57 -0400 (EDT), Bob F wrote:
>
>> I looked at one of the files (Visualization & Graphics) also, and
>> tried to do some copy/paste from both Acrobat and Preview on a Mac,
>> into Mathematica and it doesn't work very well. A simple line that
>> says in the PDF file:
>>
>> Plot[Cos[x], {x,-Pi,Pi}]
>>
>> comes out like this when pasted into some other program like this
>> Safari browser window)
>>
>> Plot@Cos@xD, 8x, -Pi, Pi<D
>>
>> and when copied from Mathematica Virtual Book comes out fine and is
>> pasted as:
>>
>> Plot[Cos[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}]
>>
>> so these files don't seem to be real useful if you want to extract
>> code examples. This seems rather weird as these are all normal ASCII
>> characters. So the Documentation Center & Virtual Book windows in
>> Mathematica are looking a like the way to go if you wish to do any
>> copying and pasting of code examples.
:
:
>> -Bob
>>
> Thanks for the various remarks.
:
:
> Concerning copy/paste, this is due to the fact that the PDF focuses on
> being a high-fidelity visual representation of the in-product
> documentation. Since inputs can contain typesetting, non-ASCII
> characters, etc., no attempt was made to convert them to an InputForm
> equivalent.  So these are StandardForm cells which, among other things,
> use Mathematica fonts to represent characters such as square brackets.
> I.e., the content of the PDF is exactly as Mathematica would display it
> on-screen or print it to the printer.  And, as you say, we do have the
> in-product Virtual Book if you're looking for interactivity with
> Mathematica.
:
:
> John Fultz
> jfultz at wolfram.com
> User Interface Group
> Wolfram Research, Inc.

In the interest of making sure the information out there is correct, let me
follow up on this and point out that, under Windows, if you copy from Adobe
Acrobat Reader and paste directly in Mathematica, it *does* work just fine.

I'm guessing that the reports of this not working are coming from Macintosh
users (correct me if I'm wrong), and I wouldn't expect this to work under Linux, 
either.  The reason this works under Windows is pretty technical, but it 
basically has to do with how Reader and Mathematica interact with each other on 
the clipboard (*).  Note that a similar issue would be observed under Windows, 
too, if you copied from the PDFs and pasted to Notepad.

The reason for the system dependency is because we're relying on features of the 
system clipboard, which vary from one operating system to another.  And none of 
this here negates the suggestion that we should look into making copy/paste work 
better on Mac, which I'm discussing with the documentation production group.

Sincerely,
 
John Fultz
jfultz at wolfram.com
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.


(*)  A slightly self-serving footnote.  A little embarrassingly, I implemented 
the feature which made this work, and yet it never occurred to me that it would 
kick in with pleasant consequences here until I tried it.  The lesson is that 
software systems (of all kinds, but certainly including Mathematica) are really 
complex, and sometimes in ways that even surprise their creators.



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