MathGroup Archive 2012

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

Search the Archive

Re: A new FrontEnd

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg128024] Re: A new FrontEnd
  • From: "djmpark" <djmpark at>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 17:32:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • Delivered-to:
  • Delivered-to:
  • Delivered-to:
  • Delivered-to:
  • References: <k21kj2$9vq$> <> <8367426.36595.1347181933819.JavaMail.root@m06>

This proposal sounds vague and not well considered. The basic Mathematica
notebook interface works well as it is and it would be a disaster to abandon
it for another technology that is undeveloped and unproven. 

I like the front end as a "piece of paper" on which I can write text, send
commands to the kernel, and format various displays and presentations.
That's what one can do now. I certainly would not like to go to a grid that
I have to specify and control.

I even prefer not to have the recently introduced NewCellInsertionPointCell
with its little "button" and context menu. The same functionality can be
obtained by other methods and I suspect that for routine Mathematica work
one seldom uses the button. It is the first step in turning the basic
notebook interface into a palette interface. What I especially dislike about
it is that it is at the principal focus of the notebook interface. Another
"forced purchase" choice.

What I would like to see is a tabbed Documentation Center (DC). More than
tabbed notebooks. (I thought one could already write notebooks into a
browser but I don't know if one can use more than one tab, and I seem to
recall that it lacked some kind of normal functionality such as docked cells
or style sheets.) As a day to day matter I find that I'm often running into
DC clutter as I try to find the correct command for various tasks.
Mathematica is so extensive that one often needs the DC open alongside a
working notebook with quick access to Function pages, Guides and Tutorials.

David Park
djmpark at 


From: Leo Ditolaghi [mailto:leoditolaghi at] 

I sometimes envision of new kind of front end for Mathematica that is a kind
of hybrid "handwriting recognition" interface. In order to ease the burden
of the recognition technology, the document consists of an array of
rectangular cells, each cell (or span of cells) being used to accept
mathematical symbols and data. This grid (which is a kind of highly scalable
spreadsheet) allows the user to enter the desired formulae, commands, etc.,
in such a way that the cells employed define the scope of the symbols. A
simple example might be something like if the desired input is x^2, one
might employ a square array of 4 cells, marking an "X" 
in the leftmost two cells, and a "2" in the top right cell of the 2-d cell
array, thus defining the variable and exponent, and so on. Since the grid
could be scaled to be as coarse or fine-grained as needed, the scope of
entering mathematical symbols might become quite intuitive. An integral sign
drawn 4 cells high would extend its scope to the expression to its right
that extends 4 cells high, for example. 
Highlighting a horizontal span of cells with a line creates a fraction, and
so on.

Is this what the iPad interface will be like, something on this order?



> Mikhail Cherkasskii <mailto:macherkasskiy at> Sat, Sep 8, 2012 
> 3:11 AM
> Maybe it a good idea to collect some suggestions for new version of 
> FrontEnd. To be more certain I suggest to create an integrated 
> interface with tabs like Google Chrome or another CAS program. I'd 
> like to see more instruments for edit graphics and text. Debug tool 
> also welcome. The document based interface is useful, but when there 
> are more then 30 variables in your notebook, some of them is in a RAM, 
> some aren't... I prefer to have an extra tool for variable control.
> Best wishes

  • Prev by Date: How on Earth?
  • Next by Date: VertexLabeling in GraphPlot
  • Previous by thread: Re: A new FrontEnd
  • Next by thread: Re: A new FrontEnd