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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mathematica Cookbook

It took O'Reilly a while but now Mathematica programmers have a Cookbook too.

First impression: not sure yet, could be good, could be cut and pasted from the Wolfram documentation. ( Aren't most computer books written like that? )

As is the case with all programming books, once you are profound in a language, books seem redundant because you can basically dream the manual anyway. The Manual. Oddly enough, books, ( including manuals ) aren't popular among those who are still learning a language ( or should I say platform ).

How did I learn Mathematica myself? Initially, by trial and error, thus not making much progress although I thought otherwise at the time, I could differentiate, integrate, solve equations, table and plot graphs so I thought I was quite good at it actually ). Truth is that I used Mathematica for years without even understanding pure functions, regular expressions or dynamic variables. I started making progress when I sat down and started to read Mathematica books like 'Introduction to Programming with Mathematica', and more recently 'Mathematica Navigator'. The Mathematica Navigator is a book but it can also be installed as an Add-On package to Mathematica in which case it neatly integrates with the existing documentation. - It's like mathematics itself really, doing exercises comes after the reading of new topics.

The CookBook doesn't integrate with Mathematica, neither has it been written in Mathematica. Which is odd because Mathematica is a premier technical publishing platform. My motto is: 'Practice what you preach", what the CookBook authors certainly did not.

1 comment:

  1. The book was most definitely written in mathematica and when you purchase the electronic version you get the notebooks as well as PDF. The book is also most definitely not a cut and paste from the documentation. If you are going to take the time to blog it would be nice to get the facts straight.

    Sal Mangano


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