[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]
Re: Luke's list of mathematica questions
This posting, along with your "How to make links" posting are quite interesting to me because they are concerned with how to use Mathematica not only for calculation but also as a medium of technical communication. Clearly you are able to see the potential. It's a matter of learning how to use Mathematica in this way. Not entirely easy, and it is not clear to me what path this will take or what will ultimately prove to be successful. I would like to suggest a path that is available now. Let's say you have some technical topic, maybe your 1000 page book, that you wish to develop, publish AND encourage other people to actively use. Combine regular publication (without attempting to incorporate active or dynamic features of Mathematica) with a Mathematica Application. The book or papers would be spinoffs of the Application. They could contain results from Mathematica and be typeset with Mathematica. The book could be published as an e-book and perhaps also as "print on demand" at a reasonable price. The book or papers would establish a record completely independent of Mathematica. Partly because there is an Application, the book could be concise, more elegant and not burdened with lots of extended examples or "how to use Mathematica" material. The Mathematica Application could contain notebook versions of the published book and papers, but also packages, complete documentation, palettes and style sheets, tutorials and extended examples. It would give the user the tools and knowledge to work in the area, checking what you have done and extending it or applying it to his own material. There might even be a community of participants and developers who would grow around an Application. The users of the Application could make full use of all the current Mathematica capabilities. The Application also provides a convenient way to organize their work because they could establish their own Folders within the Application for their personal work in the field. A Mathematica Application also preserves the work that you have done in an active, usable and documented form. It's the fruit of your labor, it's worth preserving. The downside of an Application is that not everyone will have Mathematica. I argue that if the work is important enough, and good enough, and a potential user is truly interested in the subject, they should get Mathematica. Why be satisfied with half-way measures that may be fraught with inter-program problems and limitations? I would only make a few comments on your particular questions and suggestions. Some ideas sound nifty in theory but do not work out as well in practice. I would prefer to open and close cell groups by using the left hand opener (or right hand bracket) than clicking anywhere in the cell. WRI introduced the click in the cell method for their Function pages in recent versions. The problem with this is that I am often working back and forth between a notebook and a Help page. When I click in the Function page I only want to establish a focus. Then I may want to do something, like evaluate a cell or scroll or copy an expression. But I find instead that after I clicked some whole section has opened of collapsed and I have to spend time re-establishing the state of the page. I suppose I could train myself to always click in a "nice" place. In general I think it is a mistake to make a common operation do more than what is customarily wanted or expected. As Alexei Boulbitch would say, it's a forced purchase. What about the idea of a link to jump to a different part of a document to see an equation or diagram or figure? This is what I call "jerking the reader around". Wouldn't it be much nicer to bring the material to the reader when and at the point she needs it? If there is some discussion in relation to the diagram wouldn't it be better to have them together? With Mathematica a diagram or presentation could be generated in a window next to the notebook. If the discussion was extended and required scrolling the notebook, the diagram would still be visible. Key equations could be saved and Initialized and recalled wherever they are needed. Another technique that I think is nice is the reuse of space. If you have extended connected material such as a derivation or proof or a number of different data sets, instead of generating a run-on document you can reuse a fixed space in an organized manner to present various steps or sets of data. Or in a geometric proof you could use Checkboxes to turn on or off various portions of the diagram related to various steps, effectively getting multiple diagrams in the same space. And generally, what is simpler, easier, clearer and more courteous to the reader is better. It is more likely to get your idea across. David Park djmpark at comcast.net http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/index.html From: luke wallace [mailto:lukewallace1990 at gmail.com] I'm just going to make a repository of questions here because I have so many.. 1. How do you make section text expand the cell (or group, I'm not sure of the correct term) when clicked, instead of having to click the tiny triangle to the left? 2. Can you make mouseovers show an image, so you could hover over some text like "dog" and have it show an image either stored in the notebook somewhere or pull the first image from google image search with the keyword "dog" 3. If you have lengthy textbook you are trying to make into a Mathematica notebook interactive ebook (over 1000 pages) is it going to slow down the notebook or CDF player or is mathematica really efficient with this kind of thing (compared to PDF)? 4. What are your tips and tricks for newbies learning how to do stuff in mathematica? For example, one trick I learned is to use the Cell->Show Expression hotkey (Shift+Ctrl+E) to steal low-level code of things I don't understand yet and paste them into other things and figure out what they do. I'm looking for more 'tricks'. -What are your favorite mathematica resources? Are there websites that have libraries of resources such as custom stylesheets, or add-ons for mathematica for free? 5. Can you create custom section frame styles (For example, instead of a rectangle border box on sections, could we import a custom graphic such as a gradient to make the boxes fade out from left to right and look cooler) 6. What are the capabilities of mathematica to OCR images? Is there some way we can import Microsoft OneNote's or Microsoft Word's or Nuance OCR technology to mathematica so that we can basically import PDF's as image files and have searchable text in mathematica (Just like in some PDF files in Reader or Acrobat?) 7. What are the capabilities of mathematica to create "filters" and workflow charts (mini applications) such as: If traffic light is green, then go. (Priority 3) If traffic light is yellow, then slow. (Priority 3) If traffic light is red, then stop. (Priority 3) If ambulance is active, pull over or stop when possible. (Priority 2) If child facing near road, slow. (Priority 1) And then have filters, such as it can ask you questions: What color is the traffic light? (Green) Is there an active ambulance? (No) Is there a child facing near road? (No) Answer: Then go. What color is the traffic light? (Yellow) Is there an active ambulance? (Yes) Is there a child facing near road? (No) Answer: Then pull over or stop when possible. This concept except applied to much larger and more complicated databases would be useful. I guess what I'm asking is, can you make 'pull-down' or checkbox interactive forms in mathematica that would 'filter' textual information like this?