Re: Mathematica and Lisp

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg120031] Re: Mathematica and Lisp*From*: Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu>*Date*: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 22:14:21 -0500 (EST)*Delivered-to*: l-mathgroup@mail-archive0.wolfram.com*Delivered-to*: l-mathgroup@wolfram.com*Delivered-to*: mathgroup-newout@smc.vnet.net*Delivered-to*: mathgroup-newsend@smc.vnet.net*References*: <kh4d3m$6vs$1@smc.vnet.net>

On 3/5/2013 1:15 AM, Bill Rowe wrote: > Clearly, the current design isn't compatible with your desired > workflow. But that doesn't necessarily equate to "bad design". > It is less effort to look up the meaning of @@@ as described in > Mathematica than for someone unfamiliar with C to determine what > t=log(++u)+b will do. To say that something else is even more inconvenient does not equate with good design. I think that using C documentation for looking up "++" is a lot easier than say, noodling. (see the article on noodling in wikipedia). That doesn't make the C documentation "user friendly" or whatever descriptive term you might prefer. > > If you don't care to remember the meaning of @@@ you are > certainly under no obligation to do so or even use this > notation. If it makes more sense to you, simply do > > Apply[f, expr, {1}] > > rather than > > f@@@expr Frankly I've never found an opportunity to use Apply with a 3rd argument (restricting its "level"). Perhaps I'm blinded by my experience with Lisp, in which apply also exists but does not have a level argument. It is just (apply function args) > > The only advantage of @@@ is the saving of a few keystrokes and > perhaps improved readability for someone familiar with the > meaning of @@@. And decreased readability for someone unfamiliar with it and who tries ? @@@ to get documentation. > >> I've mentioned it previously. But that's really a different point. >> There are many 3-character non-alphabet sequences. How many of them >> "mean" anything to you? > > Several. But then I use Mathematica extensively. Short cuts like > @@@ are convenient for me. Consequently, I use them rather > frequently and don't have any problem recalling their meaning. You use @@@ frequently? Or other shortcuts? I use many, such as +, :=, ->, /., //, @ , ;. which are verbose otherwise, and at least for the first few, are already familiar. That is, x+y+z seems to be handy rather than Plus[x,y,z]. This compares to Lisp, slightly longer at (+ x y z) >> As for @@@ being explained multiple times in this newsgroup, maybe >> you should wonder why > >> (a) it should have to be explained even once > > Since it is not universal, it follows there needs to be at least > one explanation somewhere. And since quite a few posters here > haven't read much of the documentation, it follows strings of > characters such as @@@ won't be familiar to them prompting a > request for an explanation. Maybe if ?@@@ worked, they won't have to ask. > >> (b) why it should have to be explained multiple times. > > No matter how many times it is explained, there will always be > another new user encountering @@@ or some other short cut for > the first time prompting a new request for explanation. The proper response might be, type ?@@@ > > The existence of multiple explanations in this forum for @@@ > isn't an indication of "bad design". Actually, I disagree. I think that is supportive evidence of bad design that repeated explanations are needed. It is simply due to the > fact Mathematica uses certain strings as short cuts that don't > have meaning outside of Mathematica. The same situation exists > for virtually any programming language. Sure. are they documented? do they make sense after being explained once? (I think that u++ and ++u make sense after one explanation.) That is for most if not > all programming languages you can find some sequence of > characters that have specific meaning in that language but not elsewhere. Yes, but not so many, nor do they step on each others' feet quite so much. e.g. .3/.3->4 > > Your comments here and elsewhere in this thread seem to amount > to Mathematica is not easy for a new or casual user to use > proficiently. If so, I agree. I think you read me correctly. Though I would go further and say it is not easy for a person attempting to make serious use, who attempts to use his/her mathematical background and general knowledge of other programming languages and (say) computer arithmetic to make generalizations of how Mathematica should behave. (simple example: why does Mathematica reverse the order of arguments to arctan of 2 args?) But I believe the same is true of > many other if not most other programming languages. But not all? I try to make comparisons only with languages I am familiar with. RJf > >