Date: May 19, 2013 5:46 AM Author: Roland Franzius Subject: 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@tue.nl> 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

Redo.

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 MenuSetup.tr 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