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proportional vs monospace font in usage text

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg122745] proportional vs monospace font in usage text
  • From: Ralf Hemmecke <hemmecke at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 06:25:16 -0500 (EST)
  • Delivered-to: l-mathgroup@mail-archive0.wolfram.com
  • Reply-to: comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica at googlegroups.com

Documenting a function, one uses f::usage = "...".
Unfortunately, doing some ascii arts inside this string like (see end of posting) goes completely wrong when shown in the notebook interface due to usage of proportional font.

I've seen the documentation for Mathematica's builtin QBinomial. While it looks nice in the notebook, in the text interface (math) it shows as

In[1]:= ?QBinomial
QBinomial[n, m, q] gives the q-binomial coefficient (n) .
                                                       q
                                                     m

which doesn't look perfect, either.

Q1) Is using ascii art a bad idea.
Q2) How can I enter what Mathematica shows for ?QBinomial inside a f::usage string?
Q3) Is it suggested that one should use something like
    If[$Notebooks, "notebook format", "ascii format"]
    in order to achieve nice output in either format?
Q4) I realized that newlines are handled differently in Mathematica 5.2 and Mathematica 8.
    What is the right way to enter line breaks?

Ralf

================
qBinomial::usage = "qBinomial[n, k, q] represents the q-binomial coefficient
of n and k in base q given by

               {   n-k+1
               { (q     ;q)
   _   _       {           k
  |  n  |      { -----------,  for k >= 0,
  |     |  :=  {    (q;q)
  |_ k _|      {         k
         q     {
               { 0,            otherwise.

For a description of (q;q)  type '?qPochhammer'.
                          k"



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