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Re: Applications and Packages, WRI Strikes Out!

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  • Subject: [mg131048] Re: Applications and Packages, WRI Strikes Out!
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 07:29:08 -0400 (EDT)
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On 05/06/2013 08:16, djmpark wrote:
> One usage of Mathematica could be as an integrated research, developmental,
> educational and communication medium for mathematics and technical subjects.
> It's great advantages are its active calculation and dynamics and the
> ability to document (with Workbench) and preserve active usable knowledge.
> It is an organized method to build up capability. I always thought this was
> an implied vision and goal for Mathematica but perhaps I am mistaken.
> The fact is that the Workbench/Application facilities are only just barely
> adequate and then only with ad hoc methods suggested by WRI people, which
> either produce error messages (that we are supposed to ignore) or don't work
> at all, or that require redoing hundreds of pages of documentation! Much of
> the work has to be done by editing underlying expressions. The whole thing
> is ill-designed, neglected and shoddily implemented. WRI can add all the
> doo-dads they want but without the Application capability Mathematica is
> just a super fancy calculator, dynamic information retriever, and minor
> programming language for stand-alone results that will be copied out to
> other media.

Please note that I have written up a complete method for generating 
package documentation without using the Workbench. If anyone has 
difficulty, please let me know.

I don't think the workbench will ever really be integrated into 
Mathematica - not least because it can't display the complete 
Mathematica character set!

I haven't tried the workbench for years, but when I did, I found it used 
a totally different nomenclature - I agree completely with David Park.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to edit their package files in the 
workbench, when there is a superb package file editor built right in to 
Mathematica! This will read a .m file, display it in StandardForm, let 
you edit it and execute code as if it were a notebook. You can also add 
headings (but not colour), and when you save the result, any output 
cells are discarded and the headings are stored as specially coded 
Mathematica comments. This means the next time you edit the package 
file, the headings come back up again immediately.

Unless I really want to save the output, I use .m files for almost 
everything. Often I find it is more convenient not to save the output - 
just re-execute the .m file (which needn't hold a package, of course) 
when I re-load it.

I'm not sure if WRI downplay this feature because the workbench 
'competes' with it, but honestly, they should forget the workbench, and 
build on Mathematica!

I know the idea of the workbench is that people can do mixed language 
programming, but I have developed a lot of Java/Mathematica code using 
Notepad++ to edit the Java, and the above mentioned package editor.

David Bailey

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