Re: Fonts, Formats, and examples as learning tools

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg113607] Re: Fonts, Formats, and examples as learning tools*From*: Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu>*Date*: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 04:00:52 -0500 (EST)

I tried it and got exactly what I expected, including having the input spit back at me when I used RowForm (since there is no such built-in Mathematica function). What were _you_ expecting, and why? On 11/3/2010 3:57 AM, AES wrote: > In response to a query about Fonts and Formats, Bob Hanlon > <hanlonr at cox.net> suggests the example: > >> Style["This is a test of various fonts 0123456789", >> FontFamily -> #, 18]& /@ >> {"American Typewriter", "Arial", >> "Papyrus", "Playbill", "Webdings", >> "Zapf Dingbats"} // Column > > I was intrigued by the "// Column" suffix -- a usage I had not > previously encountered. > > And, it took my mind back to a couple of recent threads where posters > enthused over 'examples' as a desirable form of documentation, and as a > good way of learning the intricacies of Mathematica. > > My (unposted) reaction at that time had been that examples can give you > good bits of code, which you can copy and use immediately; but they can > also be a *bad* (or at best misleading) way of learning Mathematica, > because of the human tendency to think that if some particular coding > gimmick works in one example, it's likely to work in other apparently > similar or parallel situations -- in other words, the natural human > tendency to generalize. > > The above example provides a beautiful example of this. Try copying it > and executing it six consecutive times, replacing the word 'Column" > successively by > > Row, RowForm, Column, ColumnForm, Table, TableForm > > [and, as always, make your own prediction *in advance* as to what's > going to happen in each case.] > -- Murray Eisenberg murray at math.umass.edu Mathematics & Statistics Dept. Lederle Graduate Research Tower phone 413 549-1020 (H) University of Massachusetts 413 545-2859 (W) 710 North Pleasant Street fax 413 545-1801 Amherst, MA 01003-9305