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Topic: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!
Replies: 31   Last Post: May 19, 2013 5:46 AM

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David Park

Posts: 1,560
Registered: 5/19/07
Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!
Posted: May 15, 2013 2:53 AM
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I just reply to one aspect of your comments.

I believe the basic design of the notebook interface is fairly good. The
classical format of presenting technical material in serial form using text,
equations and diagrams combined in sectional groupings is thousands of years
old. It has worked very well, it is what people know, it is the uniform
current practice, and it should not be lightly abandoned.

This style can be extended to include active elements, active calculation
and various dynamical presentations, both within the notebook or as side
windows. Such notebooks can be orders of magnitude superior to static
documents. But even working from a familiar and intuitive base style, there
is much to learn to implement this. I have gradually evolved a number of
principles, some of them adapted from Tufte, but I won't expound on them
here other than to say: use a light touch and eliminate any feature that
does not clarify an idea or convey information, no matter how nifty it might
seem in its own right.

David Park

From: George Woodrow III []

I think that the real problem is that the notebook interface paradigm has
been stretched past its breaking point. I don't think that the same metaphor
works for both printed presentation and screen. The recent problems with the
default notebook style is in part the result of an effort to satisfy two
different requirement sets. (Granted that there are also aesthetic issues --
the use of Arial, the size and color of the Title, Sections, etc.)

Once it became possible to make an entire 'document' with interactive
elements, the need for a GUI designer like Interface Builder (or the current
Storyboard) should have been obvious.

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