Date: Dec 28, 2012 5:33 AM
Author: Murray Eisenberg
Subject: Re: Usage Messages in Mathematica
And yet usage messages for built-in objects seem to handle in-line

expressions and subscripts with aplomb. See, for example:

Subscript::usage

On Dec 27, 2012, at 5:04 AM, djmpark <djmpark@comcast.net> wrote:

> An extremely weak features of Mathematica is the design of Usage messages,

> which seems to be stuck at Version 1, although the technology has moved far

> beyond that.

>

> The present design is not up to the task and full of gotchas. For example,

> how does one include a box structure, for example a subscripted symbol,

> within a usage message? If one just enters a subscript then the first time

> the message is displayed there are quotes around it and the second time the

> quotes go away. If one starts an InlineCell within the string and enters the

> expression then that problem goes away. If one then moves the usage

> definition to a package and Runs the package it works OK. But if one saves

> and closes the package, quits the kernel and then reinitializes, loading the

> package, the usage message is defective giving the InputForm of the box

> expression. Mathematica parses and changes the usage messages when the file

> is read.

>

> The String form is just not adequate for usage messages. Nor is it adequate

> to contain information on overloading functions. Usage definitions should be

> expressions. Something like the following:

>

> Usage[FunctionName] = {{template, usageExpression}..}

>

> (The usageExpression might be a Row containing Strings and mathematical

> expressions.)...

---

Murray Eisenberg murray@math.umass.edu

Mathematics & Statistics Dept.

Lederle Graduate Research Tower phone 413 549-1020 (H)

University of Massachusetts 413 545-2838 (W)

710 North Pleasant Street fax 413 545-1801

Amherst, MA 01003-9305