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Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

Am 18.05.2013 08:38, schrieb Murray Eisenberg:

> On May 17, 2013, at 4:35 AM, Fred Simons <f.h.simons at> wrote:
>> Last Tuesday I gave a course on interactivity in Mathematica.
>> Mathematica 9 was running on 7 platforms. On at least 5 of them
>> Mathematica had to be restarted during the course because of it started
>> showing incorrect output. When things like this happen, I cannot
>> recommend Mathematica to a potential new user.
> I think we would all like to know just what sort of input was giving such problems, and on exactly which OS platforms.

Some of us may know all about these facts.

In a course, it will need about three weeks until everybody has learned 
that the Mathematica kernel doesn't forgive or forget.

Another question was always, how to let people work on the same shared 
working dirctory in a course.

Better first teach them to copy everything to an own home directory and 
make a copy to an archiv folder before you start.

In Linux environments we never managed to conserve a stable environment, 
especially with respect to fonts. Since every Linux user needs a 
software repair assistant, we gave up.

But now, heaving held courses in Mathematical Physics since 1995 under 
the realistic experimental title "Mathematica Laboratory" here are some 
simple points.

For beeing rated as a really good and easy to handle instruction and 
evaluation test system, Mathematica has to come with, at least, three 
important innovations

1:  in place execution of  a Clear command  by colouring a definition 
head and execute a right click

2: a shortcut for shutting down and restarting the kernel and for 
executing intializition cells again

3: saving automatically the text history of the current notebook before 
evaluations and during the complete editing procedd, for the text part. 
Every known text or graphics systems has an editing stack with Undo and 

But task 3:  would perhaps require separation of text and formatting 
parts in notebooks.

On the other hand, why not, at least, automatically saving a  parallel 
text.m version? Or just the complete notebook without output.

Sometimes now since Windows 7, a mostly self animated  cursor  corrupts 
text, jumping in the middle of typing to a random position somewhere and 
there is chance zero to restore a working text version together with the 
editing, done before the typing error occurs.

For point 2: I always added a MenuKey  Entry in the Windows 
TextResources file, but now, the different versions of 
Mathematica cannot share the user-edited initialization files any more.

I don't want to complain here about:

Missing language support

Useless Find and Replace.

You cannot even search for the extended character set using escape input 
or by highlighting a string without using copy and paste.

Sometimes, if things grow too difficult to transfer to newer 
implemetations I save the text as an .m file, open it in Word or WinEdt 
and replace things using the procedures we know from TeX.

Of course, when you have managed to use Export und Import and 
RegularExpressions in Mathematica you can handle complex editing 
yourself. But to learn programming an editor, on the other hand, needs 
some years experience.

For beginners, complex editing should be as easy as using the little 
Find and Replace applet in text processors.


Roland Franzius

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