MathGroup Archive 1997

[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]

Search the Archive

MMA 3.0 The new is wearing off

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg7084] MMA 3.0 The new is wearing off
  • From: sch at (Stu Schaffner)
  • Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 01:58:10 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: The MITRE Corp.
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I eagerly awaited MMA 3, and was very pleased with its increase in
speed and the snazzy new formatting.  However, when I converted some
of my old programs none of them worked.  The primary reason seemed to
be that I had format statements that displayed complex data structures
as text, and the converter substituted that text in all of my Modules,
even in the argument lists. The converter also threw away the comments
I had carefully added to each module specification and made an
incomprehensible hash of the indentation.  I put MMA back on the shelf
for awhile until I could find the time to pick up the pieces.

I am now more-or-less resigned to losing much of my prior work, but I
am still having trouble using MMA 3.0 at all to write well-structured
libraries of function definitions. I'm not talking about using Do loops,
but simply writing, commenting, and altering ordinary functional programming
code.  I'm not experienced enough in MMA 3.0 yet to even be able to
fully characterize the source of my difficulties, but here are a few

     1. The cell conversion algorithms seem to lose a lot of information.
        I can usually reduce a cell to garbage with a few conversions
        between StandardForm and InputForm and back again.

     2. Almost any attempts to use indenting to show module structure
        produce a blizzard of invisible Cells and other structural
        gobbledegook. The only way to see these little "helpers" is to
        Show Expression, but the full expression is so complex that
        it doesn't help much.

     3. The invisible Cells make cutting and pasting a harrowing
        experience. It is often difficult to even select the proper
        sequence of code because the selection often overlaps some
        counterintuitive Cell structure.  Pasting such a collection
        of cells often has strange effects on the hidden structure
        MMA has placed the rest of the cell in.

     4. I thought "Why not use the formatting to advantage? Let's produce
        a formatting function for function definitions."  This didn't
        work because the contents of a Cell apparently have to be a valid
        expression.  Thus, you can't (or I don't know how to) put
        "foo[ a_ ] := Module[" into a single cell.

I sure would appreciate some suggestions.

Stu Schaffner,
The MITRE Corp.
sch at

  • Prev by Date: Making copyrighted Packages/Notebooks available over intranet?
  • Next by Date: Wolfram Research Online Bookstore Special of the Month
  • Previous by thread: Making copyrighted Packages/Notebooks available over intranet?
  • Next by thread: Re: MMA 3.0 The new is wearing off