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Re: Introducing the Wolfram Mathematica Tutorial Collection

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  • Subject: [mg99477] Re: Introducing the Wolfram Mathematica Tutorial Collection
  • From: Bob F <deepyogurt at>
  • Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 05:26:56 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <gtnjqr$3e9$>

On May 4, 2:39 pm, Bill Rowe <readn... at> wrote:
> On 5/2/09 at 5:56 AM, d... at (David Bailey) wrote:
> >Wolfram Research wrote:
> >>You asked for it, and we've created it. The much anticipated
> >>Wolfram Mathematica Tutorial Collection is now available in a
> >>variety of formats to suit your needs: on the web, as PDFs, and, by
> >>popular demand, in print.
> >>For more information, visit:
> >>
> >This looks extremely valuable, but why not let people download the
> >notebook versions, which were presumably used to prepare the PDF
> >files!
> If the collection contains the same information as the online
> documentation that comes with Mathematica it seems to me users
> would already have the notebooks used to generate the PDF files.
> If the information in the collection is different than the
> online documentation that comes with Mathematica, I agree
> downloading the notebooks would be more useful. But in this
> case, I am more interested in the differences. That is, I've no
> interest in downloading information in PDF format I already have
> in notebook format. But I do have an interest in those parts of
> the collection that would supplement the existing documentation.

I think people are missing the value and use of these PDF documents.
Yes, Mathematica currently does have the same content (and more as the
"Tutorial Collection" does not seem to have the "How To" examples and
perhaps more, but so far that is all I have noticed as missing in the
new PDF files), but to get to it you might have to click many, many,
mnay links to get to it. Surely people don't enjoy having to do all
the clicking of links and going back and forth between windows that
the DC user interface forces one to do?

In these new PDF versions, the entire topic is within one single
document. You can now do a search in the PDF file for some string and
get ALL the occurences. In my use of the DC, the search mechanism
within the Documentation Center gets extraneous content and also
misses some important content IMO. But, now that you have the PDF
file, you get a summary of all the occurances of what you are looking
for visible alongside of the content (in Acrobat Pro anyway - not sure
about other PDF viewers), so you don't spend so much time going back
and forth looking for things the way you do in the DC - just another
click in the search window which is adjacent to the main PDF window.

IMO a better documentation interface is a combination of what both the
PDF and the DC interface has plus the ability to "split" a window
(either horizontally or vertically as the need arose) so that you can
scroll in both halves and read two different parts at the same time,
or even more than two if you want (plus the ability to go decrease the
number of splits back to just one if you want). Something like what
vim or emacs or many other editor programs do that people use and have
been using for many many years. The DC user interface is good, but it
could be better.

In fact this divided screen ability would be so very handy for
notebook windows as well. Would save a LOT of time in scrolling around
to find something that happened before and that you would dearly love
to have visible on the screen at the same time as you are typing
something many many lines below it that used some part of what was
screens above or below the current position.

Another user interface issue I would like to see -- it would be so
nice to have some sort of "auto completion" mode your could turn on or
off as you needed -- perhaps a template of the command as you type.
Something that would supply the complete command and you simply change
it as you go to fit your needs, plus once you have the basic command,
there should be some way to modify it by perhaps right-clicking and
have all the optional parameters displayed and you pick and choose
which are needed. This would be so much more productive than looking
up the command in the DC, reading thru pages and pages of options
sometimes and finally finding the one that is needed, and then back to
the notebook and type in the just found optional parameter.


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