Mathematica 6.0.2 improved documentation

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Gavin Scott

Feb 27, 2008, 5:09:40 PM2/27/08
So, here's 6.0.2 today. The announcement email had some promising bits
in it:

* New Virtual Book documentation with updated Mathematica Book
* New Function Navigator, an easily browsable overview of all
Mathematica objects
* Several additional documentation enhancements, including
performance improvements, indexing, and link trails

It took a while to figure out where this new stuff was. This is
because the indexing of the documentation center is as useless as
ever, with a search for "Virtual Book" returning no matches, and
a search for "Function Navigator" returns four matches with no

I suspect somewhere in there is a page that lists changes in 6.0.2
over 6.0 and 6.0.1, but searching for "6.0.2" returns no matches
and I'm unable to guess where the information might be hidden. It's
not under any of the "New in 6" links that are all over the place.
After 15 minutes of searching for release notes of some sort I gave

But, I did eventually notice the two new small icons at the top of
the help browser which a hover-over tooltip identified as being the
"Virtual Book" and "Function Navigator. Yay! Actually they turn out
to have entries on the Help menu as well.

The Virtual Book is basically a "contents" layer on top of the
documentation center that has the same organization as the old
Mathematica Book did. This is a VERY nice addition as it finally
offers a roadmap through the otherwise formless documentation
introduced in version 6.

When you select either the Virtual Book or Function Navigator, a
new tall/narrow windows pops up with an expandable list of topics.
Selecting an entry will bring up the appropriate page in a
documentation center browser. If no browser window was open, a
new one is opened and positioned just to the right of the Virtual
Book window with its height scaled to match (a nice touch).

One quibble is that when you select something from the Virtual
Book window, the focus stays with it rather than changing to
the browser window containing the resulting document. So you
can't scroll the document using the mouse scroll wheel until
you click the window once first to give it the focus. This
gets a bit tedious.

Again, the Virtual Book is a great addition and moves the version
6 documentation a bit closer to the level of functionality we
had in version 5 and earlier. The Function Navigator is just
another ordering of the built-in functions and is rather similar
to the main documentation center page so it's not quite as
useful, though it does allow browsing through the function
categories without having to climb the tree of documentation
pages manually.

I'm sure there are other changes in 6.0.2, but as yet I have no
idea where to look for differences apart from the bullet list
in the announcement email which mentions a few other things
such as:

* New coordinate-picking tool and improved highlighting of
graphical selections for interactive graphics

But the details must apparently remain a mystery for now, as
attempts to search the documentation center for keywords from
that sentence return no useful results.


Feb 27, 2008, 5:37:39 PM2/27/08
On Feb 27, 4:09 pm, (Gavin Scott) wrote:


> But the details must apparently remain a mystery for now, as
> attempts to search the documentation center for keywords from
> that sentence return no useful results.

might be a useful read.



Feb 27, 2008, 8:21:45 PM2/27/08
We also fixed a bunch of known bugs for version 6.0.2. Among the ones
I'm familiar with are:

* Fix for a big slowdown in FactorInteger
* Fixes for some wrong Integrate results pointed out by external users
* A few Series fixes
* A few Simplify/FullSimplify/FunctionExpand fixes
* Faster and more reliable numericizing of MeijerG
* A few fixes in special function evaluation
* Fix for RamanujanTau with large arguments


Vladimir Bondarenko

Feb 28, 2008, 12:41:50 AM2/28/08
Much thanks for your description!

It is always nice and useful to hear about
the improvement details at first hand.

Vladimir Bondarenko
Cyber Tester

Nasser Abbasi

Feb 28, 2008, 1:24:45 AM2/28/08

"Gavin Scott" <> wrote in message

> So, here's 6.0.2 today. The announcement email had some promising bits
.. snip..
> G.

Actually, what I found very strange about 6.0.2, is that there is no
official announcement about it anywhere on WRI web site.

I do not consider a personal "blog" telling us how cool 6.0.2 is to be an
official announcement of a product.

There are no release notes, no official description of changes made in this
release compared to previous release, no listing of bug fixed made, etc..

You'd expect to see a big link with large letters on the main WRI website
about a new release (even if is a minor release).

This is something WRI needs to improve (I find it strange for a company
whose been doing software for more than 20 years not to do something so
basic when it makes a software release).

I wanted to upgrade from 6.0.1 to 6.0.2, but since I am not on a premium
license, I need to pay for this one, and I am not sure what is new in 6.0.2
to see if it is worth it for me to buy a new version or not (I am a
student), but with no official detailed release notes, I have no idea really
what is new, I have to read what people say about it in news groups instead
of an official release notes from WRI.


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