Re: Workbench - Recommendation?
- To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
- Subject: [mg119424] Re: Workbench - Recommendation?
- From: Albert Retey <awnl at gmx-topmail.de>
- Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2011 19:11:38 -0400 (EDT)
- References: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi, > I've begun using Mathematica and have invested quite a few hours > learning to program and getting into the mindset. I'm wondering > whether Workbench is worth the investment. I think that depends a lot on your needs and preferences. In general I would guess that you will be happy using workbench if a) your are used to work with eclipse (or another Integrated Development Environment) and do like the integration of various functionalities in one tool. b) you develop Mathematica packages for a wider audience or work on larger software projects where Mathematica is only part of a larger system involving also e.g. code in Java, database systems or web-applications. The workbench is basically a Mathematica language extension to eclipse, which is interesting if you have need for tools like version control systems, bug- and task-trackers etc. which often can be integrated with various plugins. Concerning Mathematica the workbench has things like a Unit-Test environment, a debugger, a profiler and tools that help you create packages and documentation to be integrated in the Mathematica "Documentation Center". AFAIK except for the profiler everything can also be done from within Mathematica or with extra tools, so the main benefit is that you have everything nicely integrated in one tool and some things are already conveniently automated within the workbench. > I do plan on using > Mathematica during the course of my studies in Communications > Engineering over the next two year. My personal recommendation for that scenario would be to stick with the normal FrontEnd interface. I don't see too much benefit from using the workbench if you use Mathematica as an accompanying tool for your studies _and_ you will find that Mathematica without the workbench has plenty possibilities to still your learning hunger :-). I also think that the Workbench was never meant to be a "better" or "more powerful" user interface to Mathematica but rather is an alternative to people with needs that differ from the most common uses of Mathematica, for which the normal FrontEnd is optimized. Learning and teaching is for sure a very common use case for Mathematica and the normal FrontEnd serves it very well. > I would appreciate hearing > feedback, recommendations and/or criticism and in getting a feeling > for how widely used workbench actually is amongst Mathematica users. My feeling is that workbench is not used very widely, but you will find some users who really appreciate what it provides (like me). It might have to do with the fact that Mathematica is not (yet?) noticed or accepted as a platform fit for serious software projects in a larger public, although Wolfram Alpha proofs it can very well be used as that. I guess it is used a lot by some (many? all?) WRI developers, but I don't know whether that counts :-). just my 2 cents, albert