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Frequently Asked Questions

WReach? Is that connected to WRI somehow?

The "WR" in my name has nothing to do with the company that develops Mathematica. It is just a coincidence.

Why do you start all your global variable names with $?

I use dollar signs for ad hoc global variables because I have been bitten too many times by accidentally assigning an own-value to a symbol that I happen to use, for example, in a symbolic equation. So I am in the habit of writing $x instead of x. I stick to that convention even for longer symbols like $initialUrl. Just like the regular symbol convention, Mathematica's predefined global symbols all start with a capital letter after the $. My ad hoc symbols always start with a lower case letter, so there is no conflict.

Why do you put semicolons and commas at the beginning of the line instead of at the end like a normal person?

I don't think of it that way. Rather, I switch from horizontal to vertical layout when a single expression is too long to fit on one line. This has the interesting side-effect of making the important delimiters stand out and line up. I first ran into this practice in the SQL community. SQL "programs" have the unpleasant property that they must be written as a single statement -- even if that statement is a hundred lines long (or more!). Sometimes Mathematica expressions share that property.


Feb
1
comment How to efficiently read data from any part inside huge file
Similar: Get the last line from each of a large number of files ....
Feb
1
comment Why Mathematica chooses bracket for function arguments over parenthesis?
+1 This very example is discussed in The Mathematica Book.
Jan
31
reviewed Leave Open How to remove scroll bars from embedded CDF
Jan
31
reviewed Reopen Mathematica script file in Linux - how to export PDF file and close kernel?
Jan
31
answered Why doesn't my expression evaluate at the subkernel?
Jan
31
answered Input a square matrix and return a list of the matrix entries read by antidiagonals
Jan
31
answered Evaluation control with TagSet
Jan
29
comment Does RegularExpression support “(?R)”?
@2012rcampion Yes, good idea. I have updated my answer to give an example. I suppose this post has outgrown its original billing as just an extended comment... :)
Jan
29
revised Does RegularExpression support “(?R)”?
added the section on named patterns
Jan
29
answered Does RegularExpression support “(?R)”?
Jan
28
answered What is primary, function computation or function application?
Jan
28
awarded  Nice Answer
Jan
27
comment How to filter a dataset using Select and a parameter
@GordonCoale Done.
Jan
27
revised How to filter a dataset using Select and a parameter
by request, added mention of the prefix and postfix forms of `#[sel]`
Jan
27
answered How to filter a dataset using Select and a parameter
Jan
24
awarded  Nice Answer
Jan
24
awarded  Nice Question
Jan
22
awarded  Nice Answer
Jan
22
revised Get the wrong result using the StringCase function and Shortest option
grammar, dammit! I'm getting old...
Jan
22
revised Get the wrong result using the StringCase function and Shortest option
grammar, spelling (sorry @bel)