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RE: FW: [Axiom-math] if-then-else: what is wrong?

From: Fabio S.
Subject: RE: FW: [Axiom-math] if-then-else: what is wrong?
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 23:11:18 +0100 (CET)

I think you should try Axiom's hyperdoc browser. (Unfortunately
it is only currently available in the linux version of Axiom.)
Hyperdoc provides a lot of useful information of this kind for
the new Axiom user.

Fortunately, I use only linux!
Anyway, I must say that I never liked the Hyperdoc (moreover,
it crashes quite often).

Again, I agree. I also do not use Hyperdoc very much. My experience
is also that it often crashes, although I am not yet able to
document a specific sequence which causes a crash. If we could
report and reproduce such bugs, then it should not be difficult
to correct the problems. But even then, I do not much care for the
"look" of the user interface. There have been much discussion and
some programming work to replace Hyperdoc with a modern web
browser interface, but so far we do not have a good replacement
for Hyperdoc.

I can also add that with modern dvi viewers which allow searching, I prefer to look directly into book.dvi. In fact, at present, axiom on my machine is an alias to "axiom -noht"...

My preferred type of documentation is of more "synthetic"
type. From this point of view, I like very much Mathematica
help system.

Could you explain more what you mean by "synthetic". Could you
give some examples?

But this is only personal taste.

I am glad that you mentioned it.

From my point of view, it is very useful to have an on line help which
1) allows you to look for commands and packages which satisfy a certain pattern; 2) gives you the possibility to get on line extensive help (complete syntax, maybe some meaningful example, closely related functions, maybe the source package) of a command with something natural like
)? command
)help command

1) is present in axiom via ")ap pattern". It could be extended so that searches could be afforded also on small description of commands (something like the "apropos" command in Unix).

2), AFAIK, is only limited to ")di op command" and I must say that I don't find it very useful. For example ")di op extendedEuclidean" says there are 2 functions, but it doesn't say anything else about them. As another example, I couldn't find any way to get on line a description of the syntax of "if" or the "for" loop.

On the other hand, very often a new user has often a (maybe even more than) basic knowledge of computer programming, so that he only needs very little to start using the software (that is, he only needs a sort of "Rosetta stone" on line).

As I said, from this point of view a good model could be Mathematica, or even Mupad: for example, compare the output of

MuPad           |       Mathematica     |       Axiom
                |                       |
                |                       |
?fibonacci | ?Fibonacci | )di op fibonacci )if | ?If | )di op if

and it should be clear what I mean.

Are you aware that there is new tutorial book by Tim Daly about
Axiom that can be purchased through the university book store
(ISBN 141166597X)

or direct from the publisher:

How is this book related to book.dvi? And what about the other three which are planned?



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