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Re: Introducing the Wolfram Mathematica Tutorial

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg99824] Re: Introducing the Wolfram Mathematica Tutorial
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 04:21:11 -0400 (EDT)

On 5/14/09 at 1:40 AM, siegman at stanford.edu (AES) wrote:

>In article <gue2l2$7mk$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
>Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

>>But Spotlight isn't the only tool available on a Mac for doing
>>searches on a Mac. There are the Unix tools find and grep which
>>allow searches for any text in any file regardless of whether it is
>>part of an application package or not. Additionally, this can be
>>done from Mathematica itself using FindList with FileNames. And all
>>of this works just fine with notebooks. In fact, since notebooks
>>are ASCII files, these tools work better with notebooks than PDF
>>files.

>Many of the documentation notebooks in Mathematica seem to open with
>many of their cells closed, and in a "paged" mode (you only see one
>page on screen, so far as I can tell, and have to jump from page to
>page, rather than scrolling continuously).

>So do these various tools find stuff in closed cells?

Yes.

>And if you're viewing some documentation notebook on screen and do a
>search, willl these tools open the closed cell for each hit, and let
>you jump down through all the pages and see all the hits using, for
>example, the key combo Cmd-G? (which is a fairly widely used
>standard for "Find Next" in many other situations).

No.

If you open a notebook file with a text editor, you will find it
is an ASCII file searchable by a wide variety of readily
available tools. But since tools like the Unix tools find and
grep cannot interpret the Mathematica code in the notebook,
these tools are incapable of displaying the contents as they
would appear when opened by the Mathematica front end. They are
used to simply find the file containing the desired information.
You would then need to open that file in the Mathematica front
end to display the information in an useful way.

But keep in mind, Mathematica notebooks can be seen as
expressions that can be manipulated in Mathematica. So, it is
entirely possible to find the correct file, have it opened
displaying the appropriate information in your desired format
all from Mathematica. In fact, there is no reason you could not
replace the Documentation Center with your own search function
that would display the information in any manner you found suitable.

There is absolutely nothing that can be done with PDF formated
files that cannot be done with Mathematica and the existing
documentation in notebook format. The only issue is how much
time you want to spend creating a set of tools to be used and
your ability to create tools.



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