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Re: Frontend suggestions

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  • Subject: [mg111786] Re: Frontend suggestions
  • From: "Hans Michel" <hmichel at>
  • Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 06:55:57 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i3to0s$sao$> <>

If WRI Mathematica Notebook expressions were represented as a DTD then 
The current representation would be 
<!ELEMENT Notebook (Cell+)*>

I am just proposing:
<!ELEMENT Notebook (Compartment+|Cell+)*>
<!ELEMENT Compartment (Cell+)*>

Or the like (may not have the DTD declarations correct, just a hint).  So
the introduction of this new expression would not disturb older files that
are a sequence of "Cell".

I don't think the problem is with the frontend interface handling too much,
but with market forces. Whatever happened to Display PostScript? 

WRI solutions (Mathematica, FE, Workbench, webMathematica, Publicon,
Packlets, W|A,...) have been many things to many people, all of whom are
trying to learn, get work done, etc... What I put forward is not going to
cut the noise. For the lack of a good analogy to use I'll go with the
In a complexly boisterously crowded but productive room with an open door
where the noise is overflowing into another room, a simple solution may be
to close the door. Closing the door is an additional action to something
that is productive just noisy. 

What is the frontend missing I don't know (upgrade the Quiet function). We
were asked to suggest things that we would like to see in the frontend,
otherwise more noise and complexity to an already complex system. I have
many ideas on reducing the noise. Nevertheless, I was hoping to possibly
enhance composition from a batch to an interactive process by putting
forward a concept of compartments.

Hopefully WRI is working toward elegant solutions to the complexities of
Mathematica "System of ..."


-----Original Message-----
From: AES [mailto:siegman at] 
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 4:26 AM
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg111786] [mg111734] Re: Frontend suggestions

In article <i3to0s$sao$1 at>, "Hans Michel" <hmichel at> 

> The FE and the language itself needs a new expression between Notebook and
> Cell (above CellGroup which is still a Cell) we need Compartment.
> Compartments can exist side by side in the screen environment and content
> can overflow into the next linked Compartment.
> With Compartment you can now do interactive pagination.
> The FE still feels as if one is writing in Galley mode. Pagination is or
> feels batched. Is it a notebook or a scroll?
> So in version 8 or 9 or earlier I would like to see:
> Mathematica notebooks consist of lists of Compartments objects. 
> New in 8 or 9 or earlier

It's hard to tell how this would work out in practice, but at least it's 
a new, novel, and very clever and interesting suggestion, together with 
some perceptive comments.

But at the same time, Mathematica's core and essentially unresolveable 
problem is that it has already gone way, way beyond the size and level 
of complexity that can be compressed into a single interface and learned 
and managed and managed and used by the large number of individuals who 
just want to use it to get work done in some much more limited area.

And no adding of additional capabilities and complexities is going to 
resolve that. 

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