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Re: How to adjust selection w/ arrow keys?, etc.

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg114135] Re: How to adjust selection w/ arrow keys?, etc.
  • From: kj <no.email at please.post>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 07:13:43 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <icg716$9h3$1@smc.vnet.net>

In <icg716$9h3$1 at smc.vnet.net> John Fultz <jfultz at wolfram.com> writes:

>The selection behavior you'd like is in v8.

That's great news!  Thanks for the info.

>The fact that earlier versions 
>didn't do this is an embarrassment for which there isn't a very good explanation 
>(there are explanations, but not very good ones, so I'd rather not dwell on 
>them).

I happen to regard the Mathematica GUI as the best GUI of *any*
software ever, by far.  When it comes to GUIs, I put Mathematica
in a class by itself; nothing in my experience approaches it, both
in terms of design and in terms of implementation, which is
astonishingly solid across every OS and platform I've used it on
(many).  (In fact, sometimes I wonder if Wolfram wouldn't make a
profit from licensing just its GUI technology to others.) Therefore,
I've always chalked this strange handling of the selection as a
rare instance in which Mathematica's GUI engineer's creativity
backfired: not a bug, but rather a misguided feature.  But the real
design error here was not offering this non-standard behavior, but
rather not giving users the option to revert to the standard,
through some options/preference panel.

>As for the Backspace behavior...concerning non-cell selections, you're just 
>wrong.

I stand corrected.

>Backspace *does* delete any selection you have, unless the selection 
>contains one or more cell brackets.  And it does delete cell brackets on Mac.  
>It doesn't on Windows (and, I think, Linux) for subtle cultural reasons.  In 
>some programs, Backspace is not a destructive action, but serves some other 
>purpose...for example, navigating to the previous page in web browsers and the 
>previous directory in the file explorer.  Delete is always bound to a 
>destructive action.  The concern is that this confusion might cause somebody
>to unintentionally wreak havoc on their notebook.

Again, this should be a customizable option on every OS.

BTW, does the Mathematica documentation include a section on GUI
issues like these?  The Mathematica GUI is a sophisticated instrument,
and deserves a user's manual of its own.

~kj


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