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Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: DistributedExpression (was: How can I get ever

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: DistributedExpression (was: How can I get every term of an expression ?)
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 10:30:16 -0700 (PDT)

--- "Page, Bill" <address@hidden> wrote:

> On Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:52 AM Martin Rubey wrote:
> >
> > Thus, my domain is rather cosmetics, however useful it
> > may be. We do agree that cosmetics is useful, I guess.
> Yes, I do agree that "cosmetics" is useful. In fact I have
> been know to claim that "notation is (almost) everything"
> in mathematics and I think that applies equally to computer
> algebra systems.

I agree. User comprehension is not merely a superficial convenience of
a CAS - it's a fundamental necessity.  UI design and formatting of
output are two components of this, and cannot be overlooked.  I think
there is a tendency for mathematical people to think only in terms of
the mathematics itself - a critical thing to remember, once in a while
anyway, is that correct mathematics is completely useless if it cannot
be used and built on, and the harder it is to understand it the less
useful it is in those regards.  So the best possible presentation of
results is of paramount importance, as is an incremental approach to
using the full power (and attendant complexity) of Axiom.

That's why I like the idea of building "user friendly" environments for
users, which operate pretty much as expected, but set up those
environments by making assumptions which are implicit in normal
operation explicit via the implementation of the environment.  This
lets people function more or less normally, but as they have a need for
more generality they can make fewer assumptions in their default
environment, and incrementally bring online the new syntax and
increased care needed for real correctness.


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