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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

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  • Subject: [mg120108] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: Armand Tamzarian <mike.honeychurch at>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 04:55:11 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <> <iuukk8$epi$> <iv45sh$f6b$>

On Jul 7, 9:38 pm, "McHale, Paul" <Paul.McH... at> wrote:
> Thanks!  Very powerful comments.  I will have to think considerably about this.  I wonder if this is what Stephen Wolfram did?  Anyone have insight?  No doubt Heikki Ruskeepaa's work should almost ship with Mathematica.  I consider it one of a few essential books for Mathematica.
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: AES [mailto:sieg... at]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 5:41 AM
> Subject: Re: How to write a "proper" math document
> In article <iuukk8$ep... at>,
>  "McHale, Paul" <Paul.McH... at> wrote:
> > Looking at Mathematica's admitted origins as an authoring tool for Stephen
> > Wolfram to publish his books, it's stronger points become evident.  It works
> > very well in the individual experiment, document and "publish" mode. Publish
> > here meaning the document is indistinguishable from a PDF with static data,
> > no interaction.  A book.  I will likely stay in the standard flow of
> > experiment, document and publish.  As we can see from the exchanges of
> > emails, this path is sufficiently difficult to do well.  Stephen just makes
> > it look easy :)
> With regard to this specific situation of going from notebook to "static
> book", let me quote from the 3rd edition of Heikki Ruskeepaa's masterful
> Mathematica Navigator.  Navigator is of course "a book" -- a superb book
> -- written in Mathematica.
> But in Section 3.4 of this book, entitled "Writing Mathematica
> Documents" and following a subsection on "Mathematica as a Writing
> Tool", Ruskeepaa has a subsection which reads as follows:
> =================
> Main and Working Documents
> When writing a mathematical document with Mathematica, it may be useful
> to work simultaneously with two documents: a {\it main document} and a
> {\it working document. The main document will grow into the final
> publication, whereas all computations are done in the working document.
> Mathematical results, tables, and graphics are copied from the working
> document into the main document. This division into two documents may be
> needed because the main document may not contain the Mathematica
> commands but only the results. The working document contains all used
> Mathematica commands so that all computations can easily be done again.
>    The working document should include the same sections as are in th=
> main document so that you can easily find the computations of a certain
> section. Add into the working document comments about the computations,
> such as any difficulties that may arise; they may be valuable if you
> need to do similar computations at a later time.
>    When you have completed the writing project, you will then have th=
> main document ready to be printed and the working document that will
> enable you to redo and modify computations as needed.
> =========================
> =================
> Repeat:  _two_ documents.  And although I can't track down the exact
> quote, I believe that in an earlier edition Ruskeepaa states even more
> explicitly that this approach is how he wrote his book.
> In a recent post I've suggested a variation on this two-document
> approach: a Mathematic notebook which contains all the "text" content
> (not necessarily cleanly formatted for publication) and does all the
> computations, and then a post-processor (written in whatever language
> you like) which intelligently converts that notebook into a TeX or LaTeX
> document, which (after minor touchup) produces the book.
> I believe there are two great advantages to this approach:
> 1)  It uses the best tool for each separate task -- and thereby does
> each of them better, more powerfully, AND more easily.
> 2)  Instead of every individual who uses Mathematica having to struggle
> to learn how to do both the technical computations _and_ the
> publications formatting simultaneously in one tool (and instead of, as a
> result, enormously complicating and messing up the syntax and interface
> to Mathematica, to its substantial detriment), put the hard work of
> writing the post-processor on a few skilled individuals, who know how to
> do that sort of thing.
> (In fact, multiple post-processors are likely to emerge and compete in
> this situation -- the best results of meaningful competition.)
> In any event, let's note:  Even a Mathematica wizard like Heikki
> Ruskeepaa ended up using a _two_ document approach -- he did NOT
> docomputation and publication, all in one single notebook.

Having typeset a book in Mathematica I don't believe it is necessary
at all to run two documents -- in fact I cannot imagine trying to run
a book project like that.

If you have a grasp of stylesheeting and front end commands (as per
what David Reiss alludes to above) then IMO a single document is the
way to go.

My 2c


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