General guidelines and best practices for Mathematica usage and programming.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

295
votes
26answers
46k views

What are the most common pitfalls awaiting new users?

As you may already know, Mathematica is a wonderful piece of software. However, it has a few characteristics that tend to confuse new (and sometimes not-so-new) users. That can be clearly seen from ...
77
votes
4answers
4k views

Functions with Options

Suppose you want to create a function which has optional arguments. Maeder's book "Programming in Mathematica" covers the topic extensively up to version 3, but some things have changed/evolved since ...
116
votes
6answers
10k views

How to compile effectively?

What are the best practices of compiling functions? I understand that this is a vague question, but let me list some aspects that might trigger useful answers. Some of these have already been answered ...
22
votes
4answers
897 views

Resource management in Mathematica

I am using a library that has functions like createSomeObject[] and deleteSomeObject[obj]. It is an interface to a C language ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Best practice of passing a large number of parameters to functions

I have a number of functions that all take a large number of parameters. I am wondering what is the best practice of passing these parameters to those functions. I could, of course, simply specify ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

What are recommended guidelines for developing packages?

This might be of general interest – I have different questions regarding naming conventions, contexts, subcontexts, shadowing, etc., but I do feel that they are closely related, thus I don't really ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How to unload automatically loaded packages?

I know that this has been discussed here (How do I clear all user defined symbols?), but my case is somewhat different. How does one unload packages during runtime that were loaded with the start of ...
24
votes
2answers
972 views

What are the most common (usual) ways to make palettes with non-trivial functionality?

What are the best (most robust and most convenient) ways to create palettes that can be installed permanently (using Palettes -> Install Palette...) and are safe ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Error checking and trapping techniques with Throw and Catch

Mathematica provides several mechanisms for checking arguments and trapping errors in a function definition. Typical methods are : Definitions with argument patterns, definitions with ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Efficient backtracking with Mathematica

Backtracking is a general algorithm for finding all (or some) solutions to some computational problem, that incrementally builds candidates to the solutions, and abandons each partial candidate c ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Guidelines on giving readable names to variables [closed]

I know that one cannot use underscore to a variable name, like degree_of_The_First_Polynomial. But for a long variable name, it ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Programming Mathematica in plaintext, i.e. no formatting, non-notebook

I'm new to Mathematica and I've just begun reading Paul Wellin's Programming in Mathematica. The book, like many other books and online tutorials, revolves around using the notebook, with all its ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

Naming convention for symbols exported from package

I know this is a little opinion based, but so is Mathematica style guide and similar topics. The issue is important so I think this topic will be beneficial for future visitors. Q: So ...
2
votes
0answers
264 views

Best Practice for using Notation, $Pre, MakeExpression in a package [closed]

I'm setting up a package that defines a custom notation. I'd like to inquire about best practices and possible issues of: using the Notation Package using $Pre ...
6
votes
3answers
181 views

What is the recommended way to define numeric function with special cases?

What is the recommended way to define a purely numeric function with special cases? Should I define many special cases with pattern matching? ...