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Re: Front end problems!

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg32201] Re: Front end problems!
  • From: Mike Yukish <may106 at>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2002 00:10:46 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Penn State University, Center for Academic Computing
  • References: <a0jm3k$322$> <a13uss$dfg$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Mirek Gruszkiewicz wrote:

> I was always puzzled how people apparently manage to use Mathematica without
> having constant problems with unexpected syntax errors. I came to the
> conclusion that a huge majority use Mathematica interactively and only
> create small cells with relatively short and few expressions that don't
> extend over more than one line and don't need any white space or comments in
> between. The others just assume they 'corrupted' something, probably due to
> their inferior understanding of the superior 'programing paradigms'.  :-)
> The fact is, whenever more complex cells and expression are used, as in many
> physicochemical science/engineering problems, this problem will earlier or
> later crop up.

It has been the cause of much grief to us. Annoying beyond belief!!!!!!!!!!

We are using Mathematica to capture design rules for modular systems, to a large
extent because of the readability of the rules. The ability to mathematically
typeset equations, mix text and outlining with functions, highlight sections in
boxes and colors, etc., has proven very useful.

But all of our rule bases eventually get run as *.m files. We use Mathlink for
Excel, which requires the *.m files. And then the pain starts. Tracking down all
of the spurious and unjustified formatting errors is enormously painful. You end
up just wanting to strip out all of the formatting you initially had  in order
to get the *.m file to work, almost completely defeating the original reason for
using Mathematica.

I've been contemplating a macro that would operate on a *.m file and remove all
formatting that got carried over in the conversion of a notebook to a .m file.
Call it a "Plainifier".

> This is scary, because who knows what can happen to the
> results. Most often it is just a syntax error mesage where there is no
> syntax error, without any clues as to how to find and fix it.  Sometimes
> some junk gets appended to the result. By now I can usually manage to
> rearrange the cells to get rid of the errors. It's basically where you put
> your carriage returns.
> Unfortunately, fixing the errors is done at the cost of legibility, because
> the format Mathematica can generally digest in StandardForm is a terrible
> condensed mess (best with no carriage returns at all). Blank lines and
> comments are unsafe.

A true statement, and maddening to the user!

>  By the way, in some cases, putting parentheses () around the whole cell
> content can serve as a fix.

Thanks for the suggestion...

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