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  • Subject: [mg110336] Re: WORKBENCH VS MATHEMATICA
  • From: Hannes Kessler <HannesKessler at>
  • Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:52:15 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <hv23ru$5eo$>

On 13 Jun., 10:11, "J and B" <noslow... at> wrote:
> In writing code which is the preferred method, Work Bench or Mathematica?
> In ether one, why do you use it vs. the other?

I use both. For smaller programs, I prefer Mathematica. For larger
packages (stored in $UserBaseDirectory/Applications and loaded with
Needs), I am in the transition to the Workbench.

One advantage of the Workbench is, that it allows to work on or more
new packages without mixing them with the finished packages ready for
use in  $UserBaseDirectory/Applications. Only when a package under
development has reached a functional state, I copy it from its
Workbench project directory to $UserBaseDirectory/Applications.
Another advantage of the Workbench is that you can add help documents
to your packages which can be viewed in the Mathematica documentation
One can also use the Workbench debugger if the code is developed in .m
files (not in .nb files). I did not use this feature until now as I
still prefer to maintain my packages via .nb files: Write a package in
a notebook .nb file, mark the code cells as initialization cells or
convert them to the Code-style - this creates automatically your
package .m file on each save of the corresponding notebook .nb file.

Workbench has a number of deficiencies and bugs. It may crash or issue
a lot of not helpful error messages if you do not follow exactly the
standard examples. There are many options which can be changed, but
the help documentation does not explain the effects for ordinary
users. When you create help pages and compile them, you have to
restart the Workbench each time before you can see the changes in the
Mathematica documentation center. The links to other help pages
created by the DocumentationTools palette are incorrect if you have a
non-English Windows (in my case a german Windows), an english
Mathematica and compile english help pages. I've got a confirmation
regarding the last 2 bugs by the support of Wolfram Research without
any workarounds.

 It seems to me that the Workbench may become a great programming
environment for Mathematica programs in the future. At the moment it
offers some possibilities but was also a source of big frustration for
me. You do not need to know the Workbench in order to write good
Mathematica programs efficiently. My recommendation for a beginning
Mathematica programmer would be to start writing programs in the
standard Mathematica environment. You can use all the formatting
features and styles in .nb notebooks in order to comment your programs
and their testing procedures. In addition, you can use the very good
Mathematica-editor for .m package files. There are real Mathematica
experts who do all their work - code writing, debugging and compiling
help files - in the standard Mathematica environment. It's just a
question of your personal preferences.

Best regards,
Hannes Kessler

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