more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in Mathematica 6

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Nasser Abbasi

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Jun 17, 2007, 5:56:41 AM6/17/07
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1) so I start DC, and click on the "index of functions" link, near the
bottom, and after a little while, I get a new screen showing all the
functions listed alphabetically. Great, I said, now I can see all the
functions out there in one place.

I searched for the function PrincipalComponents but it is NOT listed.

But if one does search for PrincipalComponents from that DC tiny search
window (after erasing what was there every time), this function comes up.

So why was it not lised in the index of functions output?

Does this mean that the "index of functions" only lists those functions that
does not exist inside packages which requires loading first? This makes
this listing less effective then.

2) When I ask DC to search for something, there is no indication it is busy
searching. On a slow PC, one thinks it is frozen, or may be the command did
not 'go through', and tries the same search command again. There should be
something spinning or some indication that the command was actually accepted
and being processed. This is a UI design 101 thing.

Sometimes DC takes more than 5 seconds to return a result on my old PC.

3)For whatever it is worth, I still think the 5.2 help system is MUCH better
for learning and finding what is in the new system.

I do not really need the DC as it is, I can just as well use Google
directly, which I find myself doing more, since the same information in DC
is already on WRI web pages and Google finds it just as fast. The earlier
help system provided a structure to the documentation which added an exrtra
dimension which DC does not provide.

The people have spoken: We want the the old help system back. (WRI could
always keep the new DC for those users who prefer Google style
documentation).

Thank you for listening.

Nasser


Helen Read

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Jun 18, 2007, 6:51:37 AM6/18/07
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Nasser Abbasi wrote:
>
> 2) When I ask DC to search for something, there is no indication it is busy
> searching. On a slow PC, one thinks it is frozen, or may be the command did
> not 'go through', and tries the same search command again. There should be
> something spinning or some indication that the command was actually accepted
> and being processed. This is a UI design 101 thing.
>
> Sometimes DC takes more than 5 seconds to return a result on my old PC.

This happens on my 5-year-old PC as well, and I agree that it would be
nice to have some indication it is working. It's not a big deal now that
I know to just wait, but it was a bit unsettling at first.

> 3)For whatever it is worth, I still think the 5.2 help system is MUCH better
> for learning and finding what is in the new system.
>

> The people have spoken: We want the the old help system back.

Speak for yourself. Now that I have gotten used to the new Documentation
Center, I like it a lot. The examples on the function pages are much
more extensive -- and useful -- then in 5.2. As far as learning and
finding what is new, try clicking on every single item on the home page
that comes up when you open the DC, and see where it leads you. Yes,
there are some things that could (and should) be improved in the DC,
many of which have already been discussed here, but overall I think it's
an improvement over the old Help.

--
Helen Read
University of Vermont

David Bailey

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Jun 18, 2007, 7:23:17 AM6/18/07
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Yes, I too hope they will upgrade the next version of Mathematica by
putting back the old help system - for most of the reasons you have
mentioned!

Wouldn't it be great to have 6.0 functionality with a 5.2-style help system!

David Bailey
http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk

José Luis Gómez-Muñoz

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Jun 19, 2007, 6:48:07 AM6/19/07
to

I love Mathematica. I really hope our comments can help making a great
product even better.

The v6.0 Documentation Center has a lot more examples (than the old v5.2
help), many of them really really neat. So why we (some of the users) do not
like it?

In my case, because I cannot see the structure that I was able to see in
v5.2 Help Browser. Maybe the structure is there, but I cannot see it.

Let me quote Kovas Boguta, from Wolfram Research, in his post to the Wolfram
Blog, he was writing about a very different topic, but I think we can apply
it here:
"An English phrase is built of subphrases. A mathematical formula is built
of subformulas. A musical score is built of bars, which contain notes. A web
page layout is built from sublayouts. When humans want to communicate
nontrivial structures, they use hierarchical nesting."
http://blog.wolfram.com/2007/06/symbolic_programming_computati.html#more

That is, in my opinion, the main thing that v6.0 help lost (as compare with
v5.2 help): (explicit) hierarchical structure.

Now I quote myself. Sorry for that, I really want to be useful. In another
reply, I wrote:

>I believe that Szabolcs has described precisely the "problem"
>with v6.0 documentation: If v5.2 help seemed to be a (safe) Tree, now
>v6.0 help seems to be a (unsafe) Labyrinth.
>
>The tree-like structure of v5.2 help browser helps the end user have
>the feeling that s/he will eventually be able to know everything that
>has to be known about a specific topic. Just have to "travel" and spend
>enough time "inside" all the relevant branches.
>
>That comfortable sensation was lost in v6.0 Documentation Center.

Again, I really hope all this considerations are useful for the great team
at WRI.

Regards

Jose


-----Mensaje original-----
De: David Bailey [mailto:dave@Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk]
Enviado el: Lunes, 18 de Junio de 2007 06:06 a.m.
Para: math...@smc.vnet.net
Asunto: Re: more gripe about the new documentation center (DC) in
Mathematica

DrMajorBob

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Jun 19, 2007, 7:18:47 AM6/19/07
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I'm confident Wolfram can improve the new Help system without taking us
back to the old.

It's a big operation; just give 'em a little time.

Bobby

On Mon, 18 Jun 2007 06:06:05 -0500, David Bailey
<dave@Remove_Thisdbailey.co.uk> wrote:

> Yes, I too hope they will upgrade the next version of Mathematica by
> putting back the old help system - for most of the reasons you have
> mentioned!
>
> Wouldn't it be great to have 6.0 functionality with a 5.2-style help
> system!
>
> David Bailey
> http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk
>
>

--
DrMaj...@bigfoot.com

Andrzej Kozlowski

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Jun 19, 2007, 5:45:07 PM6/19/07
to
On 18 Jun 2007, at 20:06, David Bailey wrote:


>
> Wouldn't it be great to have 6.0 functionality with a 5.2-style
> help system!
>
> David Bailey

It would indeed be great, except that I can think of something much
better: 6.0 functionality with 6.0 help system.

Andrzej Kozlowski

P.S. That does not mean that I would not like to see some
improvements but going back? Definitely not!


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