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Re: Difference between Animator and Trigger?

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  • Subject: [mg107421] Re: [mg107328] Difference between Animator and Trigger?
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 04:42:01 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

On Tue, 9 Feb 2010 02:46:13 -0500 (EST), asdf qwerty wrote:
> I'm trying to decide whether to use an Animator or a Trigger to drive
> an animation, but it looks like they're pretty much identical, just
> with different default settings. Is there a difference? If not, why
> are there two commands?
> Thanks,
> Brad

Yes, that's correct...they are basically the same but with different settings.  
Internally, Trigger is implemented as a special form of Animator.

The principal conceptual difference boils down to the setting for 
AnimationRepetitions, and to whether they're paused or running when you create 
them.  Trigger's default mode runs an animation for a limited time, only when 
requested by the user.  Animator is running by default when you create it, and 
just keeps looping forever.  The choice of names for the two functions stems
primarily from these differences.

It's not uncommon in the design of Mathematica to have functions which replicate 
functionality that could have been easily recreated with very simple programs by 
advanced Mathematica users.  I think the motivation is partly to make the 
resulting programs appear even simpler, and to lower the bar so that you don't 
have to understand as much to get certain things working.  For example, I was 
doing Plus@@list for years before we added Total[list].  It made perfect sense 
to me, but was fairly obscure to somebody just starting out.


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

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