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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.


Dec
10
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
noted that the swapped stream names have been fixed in version 10.0.2
Dec
5
revised Where is the old option TraceInternal->True?
added the update concerning the `SetStreamPosition` messages
Nov
21
revised Camel hump string split
added the section that includes digits as "hump" characters
Nov
20
revised Camel hump string split
added a variant that keeps abbreviations together
Nov
17
revised String pattern defined by number of characters
added the section about recursive patterns
Nov
17
revised String pattern defined by number of characters
added 59 characters in body
Nov
11
revised Select last occurence of key in dataset
added sample data in copy-and-paste form
Nov
11
revised Pattern matching: Times[a_] vs Times[a__]
added 3 characters in body
Nov
6
revised How can Map be given access to the keys of a Dataset?
added 12 characters in body
Oct
12
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
added the sidebar about the _stdin_/_stdout_ confusion in `ProcessConnection`
Oct
11
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
elaborated upon the cause
Oct
11
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
added 1 character in body
Oct
8
revised Dataset seems unable to handle ListDensityPlot and ListContourPlot
added the note about Dataset wrapper definitions
Sep
30
revised Multiplayer game in Mathematica: how to communicate between kernels?
changed `Hold` to `HoldComplete` in `LinkRead` after advice from JacobAkkerboom
Sep
29
revised Is there a comprehensive list of functions with V10 operator forms?
added a required Needs statement
Sep
29
revised Bug in Operator Form of StringCases
edited body
Sep
29
revised Bug in Operator Form of StringCases
added the notes about the complexities of currying `StringCases` and `Cases`
Sep
29
revised Is there a comprehensive list of functions with V10 operator forms?
added the note about `StringCases`
Sep
21
revised How to use Mathematica for traditional programming
added links
Sep
21
revised How to use Mathematica for traditional programming
added the link to How To Create a Lecture Notebook