Date: Mar 2, 2013 3:44 AM Author: David Park Subject: Re: Notational Conventions Marsh,

I think your objective of using Mathematica to write literate technical

documents is a very proper and useful approach. I can be done but there is

probably a lot to be learned because an active, dynamic document has much

more potential capability for development and communication than a static

written document.

Here are some tips:

1) Learn to use the Sectional organization of notebooks.

2) Some of your objectives, such as italicized single character symbols, can

be used by using TraditionalForm for Output. (I myself prefer StandardForm

because it is not ambiguous but some sophisticated users swear by

TraditionalForm.)

3) Mathematica will not automatically use different font styles for

different types of variables and I doubt if it would be easy to make it

automatic. You can use the SpecialCharacters palette for different font

styles and adhere to conventions in your own usage. (Starting variable names

with capital letters is generally frowned upon because they may conflict

with Mathematica built-in symbols.) Generally I would recommend against

being too concerned about variable fonts and meanings. There is a lot to be

said for regular keyboard characters and longer descriptive names.

4) It's possible to generate special output formats using MakeBoxes.

5) Mathematica has both a pi symbol and pi as a numeric constant.

5) Style sheets allow you do define different formats for different cell

types, including new cell types you might create, but they will not allow

different styles for different types of symbols within one cell type.

6) There are a number of techniques for hiding boilerplate specifications

and displaying text and output in a smooth manner. It is also fairly easy to

generate displays in separate windows so a reader can scroll the notebook

while observing the diagram. (One of the advantages of ancient scrolls was

that they could be spread out so text and diagrams were both visible. The

diagram was not on the opposite side of the page!) One of the nice features

of notebooks is that you can bring the material to the reader, where he

needs it, without jumping around in the document.

7) It is important to keep the science and mathematics front and center and

not impose extra programming system restrictions that become more of a

burden than a help.

I sell an Application called Presentations through my web site that has many

features that make it easier to write custom graphics, tables and dynamic

presentations. It also has many features that help to write notebooks as

readable and usable technical documents. There are also essays on Writing

Notebooks, Writing Presentations, Writing Packages and Writing Applications.

Also many examples and extended examples including longer notebooks in the

form of technical documents.

You can certainly write nice documents without it, but many people find it

useful.

David Park

djmpark@comcast.net

http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/index.html

From: Marsh [mailto:marshfeldman@gmail.com]

Hello,

I am very new to Mathematica but see its potential. I'm unsure of how to

combine text and Mathematica computations in a notebook so that the final

document reads properly, and I haven't found a tutorial or any other help

that covers this. A near as I can make out, one writes the document as if it

were an ordinary word processing document, interspersing Mathematica

calculations and commands, and then one collapses the cells that one does

not want to display in the final document. Is this correct?

What I'd like to do is to adopt certain notational conventions and have

mathematica deal with them correctly. For example, one set of conventions

italicizes names of all variables, uses uppercase letters to name random

variables and matrices, but distinguishes random variables from matrices by

displaying all matrix names in boldface. A different set of conventions will

use italicized uppercase letters to designate points in a diagram or

constant parameters in an equation, with matrices now designated as

uppercase letters with the dimensions of the matrix as a subscript (e.g., n

x m).

Ideally, one would have a mathematical style sheet that makes changing the

conventions used in a document. But even if one were to be willing to use a

fixed notation in a document (notebook), I'm not sure how it would work. How

does one use X to designate a random variable and bold X to designate a

matrix? How does one use the Greek letter pi as a variable and have it show

up in the document as the Greek letter rather than as the word "pi"?

So what's the best way to deal with these issues?