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Re: Why Row does not format 2 plots in one row when ImageSize->Full?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg112560] Re: Why Row does not format 2 plots in one row when ImageSize->Full?
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 05:42:07 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i6vgju$3jd$1@smc.vnet.net>

In article <i6vgju$3jd$1 at smc.vnet.net>, John Fultz <jfultz at wolfram.com> 
wrote:

> On Thu, 16 Sep 2010 05:58:36 -0400 (EDT), AES wrote:

> >> Quote from Carl Woll's earlier message:
> >> 
> >> "The main difference is that Row allows linebreaks, whereas GraphicsRow
> >> does not. So, GraphicsRow will shrink it's contents so that they all fit
> >> on one line, while Row won't."
> >>
> >
> > This is a beautiful example of the kind of simple, terse, plain-English,
> > easy to remember statement that ought to go in a "Warnings" or "Notes"
> > or something section of the Help messages for Row and GraphicsRow.
> >
> > I'll grant that this information is there in these Help messages as they
> > stand (I just looked at both of them) -- but it ain't easy to pull it
> > out of them, quickly and clearly, especially for an "ordinary user".

> You've leveled many quite fair criticisms at the Mathematica documentation 
> the last couple of years (some of which have inspired changes to the
> documentation for future versions, incidentally).  This is not one of them.
> 
> The behavior of Row is described in the very first line of documentation 
> on the Help page, which is also part of the usage message.  I.e.,
> 
>   "Row[{expr1,expr2,...}] is an object that formats with the expri arranged in a
>   row, ***potentially extending over several lines***."

I appreciate your response, and thanks for it, but I'm sorry, I stick by 
my opinion.

1)  The phrase you emphasize is for me a vague or uncertain one: 
"potentially extending over several lines" -- what's this "potentially"
business?  And for that matter, what's this "object" bit?  [Try invoking 
Help for "object"; result is 1540 (!) links, in a list extending over 
154 pages.]  

How about a nice active:

      Row[{expr1,expr2,...}] formats the expri [displayed at their 
      individual sizes?] in a single row or line, with line breaks 
      inserted as needed to remain within the page or window width.

2)  And on a more general theme, messages in this NG and many other 
places repeatedly point out that Mathematica offers many different ways 
of doing the same task, and more generally, many often quite similar but 
also seriously different commands that can puzzle users trying to 
determine which one to use (think of UnitStep and HeavisideTheta for 
example).  

Row and GraphicsRow is a classic example of this.  And, quite, true, if 
you go to the Help for one of these, you indeed see the other listed as 
a clickable See Also at the bottom of the page (along with several much 
less directly related terms).  But, those See Alsos are, all too often, 
simply an invitation to get led off on a descent into "linked pages 
hell".

If Carl Woll's comment were shrunk to 

      Row[ ] displays the expri at their [normal? expected? full?] size 
      and allows linebreaks in the display, whereas GraphicsRow[ ] 
      shrinks it's contents so that they all fit in a single line

and added to both pages, users considering either command would get the 
key info they need, regardless of which name they started from.

I suggest that adding this and a modest number of similar 
"cross-command" comments like this to the Help messages would contribute 
an immense amount of user value per added word.


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