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Re: Mathematica and Lisp

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  • Subject: [mg120013] Re: Mathematica and Lisp
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 04:16:24 -0500 (EST)
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On 3/3/13 at 10:58 PM, fateman at (Richard Fateman)

>On 3/3/2013 5:57 AM, Bob Hanlon wrote:
>>"@@@ ?"

>>The operator @@@ has been used and explained multiple times on this
>>newsgroup and is documented in the Mathematica help.

>/I'm a touch typist.
>So I'm happy with examples like this ---

>? Apply
>which  works


>? @@@

>returns Information::nomatch

>To use your method I must remove at least one hand from the keyboard,
>scramble around to find the mouse and then hit f1 and then return my
>hand to the keyboard in order to  get the documentation. This is a bad

Clearly, the current design isn't compatible with your desired
workflow. But that doesn't necessarily equate to "bad design".
It is less effort to look up the meaning of @@@ as described in
Mathematica than for someone unfamiliar with C to determine what
t=log(++u)+b will do.

If you don't care to remember the meaning of @@@ you are
certainly under no obligation to do so or even use this
notation. If it makes more sense to you, simply do

Apply[f, expr, {1}]

rather than


The only advantage of @@@ is the saving of a few keystrokes and
perhaps improved readability for someone familiar with the
meaning of @@@.

>I've mentioned it previously.  But that's really a different point.
>There are many 3-character non-alphabet sequences.  How many of them
>"mean" anything to you?

Several. But then I use Mathematica extensively. Short cuts like
@@@ are convenient for me. Consequently, I use them rather
frequently and don't have any problem recalling their meaning.

>As for @@@ being explained multiple times in this newsgroup, maybe
>you should wonder why

>(a) it should have to be explained even once

Since it is not universal, it follows there needs to be at least
one explanation somewhere. And since quite a few posters here
haven't read much of the documentation, it follows strings of
characters such as @@@ won't be familiar to them prompting a
request for an explanation.

>(b) why it should have to be explained multiple times.

No matter how many times it is explained, there will always be
another new user encountering @@@ or some other short cut for
the first time prompting a new request for explanation.

The existence of multiple explanations in this forum for @@@
isn't an indication of "bad design". It is simply due to the
fact Mathematica uses certain strings as short cuts that don't
have meaning outside of Mathematica. The same situation exists
for virtually any programming language. That is for most if not
all programming languages you can find some sequence of
characters that have specific meaning in that language but not elsewhere.

Your comments here and elsewhere in this thread seem to amount
to Mathematica is not easy for a new or casual user to use
proficiently. If so, I agree. But I believe the same is true of
many other if not most other programming languages.

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