MathGroup Archive 1995

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help functions

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg2435] help functions
  • From: Jack Goldberg <jackgold at>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 23:42:46 -0500

Hi group;

I would like to have a "help" command which generates more 
information than ?.  The big problem my students have with ?
is that it allows only a small margin of error in input and my 
students often come up with massive errors.  
Probably more to the point, ? offers no suggested alternatives.

For starters, suppose that we try to define 

	Help[x_String] := Module[ ... ]

in some manner so that the output is at least as comprehensive 
as the built-in ?.  To make this so I speculated on writing a module
which returns precisely the info found in the corresponding 

	? x

and no more.  Had I succeeded, this would be the basis upon which I 
would have built the extensions to ?.  I never got started!
I don't know how to access the comments produced by ? from within 
my module.  I suppose there is some trick that fools mma into thinking
I'm using ?, but I can't think of any.  And ? doesn`t help.

Perhaps this isn't the way to go at all.  If any of you have given this 
some thought, I would like to hear from you.

P.S.  For those of you who have used Maple, their help system is more 
along the lines I would like for my students.  I have gotten experienced 
enough to know to keep "The Book" nearby - always!


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