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R.E. Troubles with calculations using HP-UX notebook interface

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  • Subject: [mg292] R.E. Troubles with calculations using HP-UX notebook interface
  • From: Simon Chandler <simonc at>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 10:26:47 GMT



I thought you might be interested in the following discussion I had
with WRI technical support about the invisible control characters
problem. I've not yet implemented the fix they suggest (since I now
use a Mac front end). If you do, then tell me how it went.



 Dr Simon Chandler
 Hewlett-Packard Ltd			Tel:   0272 228109
 Computer Peripherals Bristol		Fax:   0272 236091
 Filton Road, Stoke Gifford
 Bristol, BS12 6QZ	  		email: simonc at
 United Kingdom



Control Characters & Key Bindings: Mathematica Support Reply

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Several engineers here use Mathematica on an HP700 workstation (Unix
based).  They have a small but time wasting problem with the XFE that
keeps cropping up. The problem is that if you type a control character
e.g., ctrl-a into a notebook, it is invisible, but it's still there
and can cause problems.  In fact I just tried this with a Macintosh
front-end and the same thing happens.  An example problem...

if you type

fred + fre(ctrl-a)d

where, of course you can't see the ctrl-a so it looks like

fred + fred

then you get back what appears to be

fred + fred

This was a silly example but it illustrated the point.  Of course us
Mac-types don't often use control characters so the problem doesn't
crop up much. However, the Unix guys usually do text editing with
emacs which _is_ a control character driven editor (ctrl-a, for
example, returns the cursor to the start of the current line).  When
they're hacking away at a NoteBook then they inadvertently use e-macs
commands and invisible characters start confusing them.

I was asked by one of our Unix users of Mathematica if it's possible
to change the "key bindings" for the XFE. If so, it would be possible
to make the front end ignore the control characters.  Even better, you
may be able to make it do the correct action when the control
character is typed.  Effectively, these engineers want their
Mathematica X front end to have an emacs keyboard.  I guess somebody
else might want the XFE to look like some other word processor etc.

In summary I have a few questions:

* Is there any way to avoid the 'invisible' control characters problem ?

* Can the XFE's key bindings be changed ?

* Are there any plans for allowing a user to customise the XFE
  keyboard to make it match his usual text editor/word processor ?



>From: Technical Support <support at>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 10:30:17 CDT
To: simonc at

Hello Dr. Simon Chandler,

Unfortunately, the invisible Control characters is a problem that has 
been previously reported.  One way to avoid it would be to change the
key bindings in the XMathematica file.  This file can be copied out of
the /<mathdir>/FrontEnd/ directory into the home directory of the person
wishing to modify it.  The modifications need to be done in the section
for the resource *Notebook.translations: .  An example of Emac-type 
commands would look something like this:

*Notebook.translations: #override \n\
<Btn1Up>: selection-put() \n\
<Btn2Down>: selection-get() \n\
<Key>Multi_key: \n\
Ctrl<Key>a: \n\
Ctrl<Key>b: left() \n\
Ctrl<Key>c: key("a") \n\
Ctrl<Key>d: delete-right() \n\
Ctrl<Key>e: \n\
Ctrl<Key>f: right() \n\
Ctrl<Key>g: \n\
Ctrl<Key>h: \n\
Ctrl<Key>i: \n\
Ctrl<Key>j: \n\
Ctrl<Key>k: \n\
Ctrl<Key>l: \n\
Ctrl<Key>m: \n\
Ctrl<Key>n: down() \n\
Ctrl<Key>o: \n\
Ctrl<Key>p: up() \n\
Ctrl<Key>q: \n\
Ctrl<Key>r: find() \n\
Ctrl<Key>s: \n\
Ctrl<Key>t: \n\
Ctrl<Key>u: \n\
Ctrl<Key>v: \n\
Ctrl<Key>w: \n\
Ctrl<Key>x: \n\
Ctrl<Key>y: copy() \n\

Try cutting and pasting the example into the XMathematica file in your 
home directory ( the lines:

*Notebook.translations: #override \n\
<Btn1Up>: selection-put() \n\
<Btn2Down>: selection-get() \n\

should already be within the XMathematica file).  Type in some input,
move the cursor, and type Ctrl+d for example.  This will delete the 
character to the right of the cursor.

Karen Fernsler
Technical Support


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