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Re: Refcard

From: Rik
Subject: Re: Refcard
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2010 11:03:13 -0700

> Subject:
> Refcard
> From:
> Jake <address@hidden>
> Date:
> Thu, 1 Jul 2010 08:24:54 -0400
> To:
> address@hidden
> To:
> address@hidden
> Reference: https://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?30260
> The bug started with just some spelling corrections, but there has been some 
> discussion about missing functions and the implications of adding/subtracting 
> content (messes up alignment, etc).  I was thinking that the very basic 
> function fzero() should be added somewhere to the refcard.  The refcard is 
> included with the source.  Please discuss.


I agree with most of the discussion on the bug list.  I find that I never
use Info for reading the documentation, preferring either the pdf or HTML
versions instead.  I believe we could reduce what amounts to a tutorial on
Info, and replace it with more information on Octave itself.

The sections I see that could be removed are [Motion in Info, Node
Selection in Info, Searching in Info].  Instead, I might just list the
command to call up help on Info once they have launched it.

I also think the command-line editing options are less useful than more
documentation about Octave itself.  If the user is a beginner then they can
get by with using cursor keys, etc.  On the other hand, if the user is an
expert, they probably already know, and won't forget commands, like
transposing characters and yanking words.  Another issue is that key
bindings are not stable in the same way that the calling parameters to fft
are stable.  I use VI bindings so all of this information is just plain
wrong.  Other systems may have customized certain key combinations which
means users will be perplexed when they try a suggested command and it
doesn't work.  The sections that I see could be eliminated are
[Command-Line Cursor Motion, Inserting or Changing Text, Killing and
Yanking, and perhaps parts of Command Completion and History].

In [Index Expressions] there should be a mention of the special variable
'end' as in 1:end.

In [Linear Algebra] there should be mention of 'eigs', used to find just a
few eigenvalues of a sparse matrix.

I'm not sure of the exact section to place these in, but the new
optimization functions fzero, fminbnd, and fminunc should be added.

I think the section [C-style Input and Output] could be shortened.  We
should be encouraging the easiest way to get data into Octave which is
often just load which works for simple columns of data.  We also need to
mention the newly added csvread and csvwrite.

In [Selected Built-In Functions], I would mention that 1i, 1j are both
equivalent to the sqrt(-1).  I would also put a reference to e, the base of
natural logarithms.

The section [Cells and Structures] should mention structfun.  Somewhere,
maybe here, there should be a reference to arrayfun.

[Plotting Functions] should have some mention of the new graphics handles.
 Or maybe this should be its own section with some of the other commands
like figure, clf, gca, gcf.  I would also add surf to the list of plotting


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