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Re: isa strangeness

From: Martin Helm
Subject: Re: isa strangeness
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 13:46:06 +0200
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Am Montag, 16. August 2010, 13:04:50 schrieb Michael Goffioul:
> On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 11:54 AM, Martin Helm <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Am Montag, 16. August 2010, 12:40:31 schrieben Sie:
> >> An example maybe...
> >> Or just simply mentioning that the class argument is expected to be
> >> a class name.
> >> 
> >> Michael.
> > 
> > That was what came into my mind first, but then I thought there are
> > already plenty of examples which can be seen by "type isa" (the tests at
> > the end of the function).
> > A new user is probably not aware that the source code can be shown with
> > the command "type"?
> Well, making implicit assumptions about what a user know/doesn't know in
> documentation is not very good imo. This means that before being able to
> know useful things about "isa", a user needs to know about "type" and that
> there are (sometimes) embedded tests at the end of m-files.
> IMHO documentation is made to document. I don't
> see any problems in having verbose help strings with useful examples.
> In this particular case, having an example as simple as "isa(x, 'double')"
> would have clarified the ambiguity immediately.
> Michael.

My considerations are not really bound to this example. Of course here a 
simple example in the doc string clarifies everything and probably renaming 
the argument from class to classname.
I was more or less thinking loud while typing how we can help new users in 
general to retrieve useful additional information.
What octave really lacks is some hands on guide to get people started to do 
nontrivial things with many simple and many more complex real world examples.
I follow the list now for a longer time and see that there are many peoples 
having difficulties at various levels, not everyone used matlab before or used 
any specialized interpreter language for scientific computing.
The little amount of time I can spend on octave is mostly used for answering 
simple questions (my full time job has 0.0 % overlap with anything which has 
to do with octave or numerics, it is pure intellectual interest in my free 
time since I feel still as being a mathematician after more than 15 years in 
industry) so it is a little bit to much for me to start something like this on 
my own - but maybe it is worth if I simply try it. 

- mh

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