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Re: Augmenting Mathematica documentation - a serious proposal

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg115309] Re: Augmenting Mathematica documentation - a serious proposal
  • From: telefunkenvf14 <rgorka at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 04:09:42 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <ifmru5$pha$1@smc.vnet.net> <ifpk99$bso$1@smc.vnet.net>

On Jan 6, 1:01 am, David Bailey <d... at removedbailey.co.uk> wrote:
> On 04/01/2011 09:21, telefunkenvf14 wrote:
>
>
>
> > Now I'm intrigued... Can we make a wiki version?!? (Guessing WRI would
> > not be happy with this---umm...copy rights?)
>
> > -RG
>
> I think a set of extra information about Mathematica functions would be
> a really valuable resource, and could include contributions from many
> people. Copyright needn't be an issue if we did it by programmatically,
> inserting a big "MORE INFORMATION" dropdown box at the start of a
> standard documentation notebook.
>
> This could all-but eliminate a whole range of problems that beginner
> users encounter, such as
>
> arr=expr//MatrixForm
>
> The dropdown would supply a choice of links to websites that contained
> additional information for that particular function. Contributors would
> have to supply their web address to a central list, which would then be
> used by the installation program.
>
> I would be willing to set this up if enough people show interest (and
> WRI don't raise serious objections :) ).
>
> David Baileyhttp://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk

Other (less thought-out) ideas:

1. "Gotcha" tags and workarounds.

2. less 'elegant' examples---Having recently gone through *most* of
the learning curve, it amazes me how many examples are needlessly
confusing because functional programming tricks are employed. Not
saying the examples should be changed, eventually such a presentation
is helpful, but the same example "coded for beginners" would be
helpful in many instances. (David's postfix notation example is spot
on.)

3. A way to bookmark scraps of code in the documentation that are
especially interesting. (Storing/tracking such examples is a messy.
And I don't need additional distractions!) Alas, probably stretching
beyond the scope of such a project...

4. Examples for specific disciplines. I like the way the documentation
is straightforward and somewhat sparse---but sometimes I need my hand
held a little to understand areas of math and computer science I have
no background in. (this is a huge deal to me; Mathematica has been a
wonderful self-learning tool, one that could be even better with the
right examples.)

5. What about parsing in hyperlinks to external materials, rather than
yet another drop-down section? I guess this is similar to what I said
in (1).

-RG


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