The package Exploring Abstract Algebra with Mathematica works fine in Mathematica 10.4.

After installing it in the $UserBaseDirectory it neatly shows up under Add-Ons and Packages in the Documentation Center. But this is no longer the case in version 11.1.0, although the package itself seems to work fine.

Has anything been changed in the Documentation Center ( it certainly looks that way ), is there a simple fix for this issue?

( I have to add that there has been no official version released of this package for version 11. Usually they come with compatibility fixes soon after a new release. )

  • Please see update. – Szabolcs Apr 11 '17 at 11:21
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Documentation Center was completely changed in version 6.0 to a search-based system from a table of contents based system. However, the old version 5 style Help Browser was still functional. It did not contain the Mathematica documentation, but it could be used to read the documentation of certain packages.

Exploring Abstract Algebra uses this very old help browser system.

Support for this old help browser was removed in version 11.0, as you can see e.g. here. Thus the documentation of this old package is no longer readable. The package needs a compatibility update.

The good news is that you can still read the documentation notebooks as they are. What is missing is the table of contents, and partitioning the notebooks into small sections.


It seems that the documentation structure is contained in the file BrowserCategories.m. I tried to write a very rudimentary program that will create a table of contents from it. There are very likely multiple issues with it, so you will want to improve it. But I think it will be a useful starting point.

base = FileNameJoin[{$UserBaseDirectory, "Applications", "AbstractAlgebra", "Documentation", "English"}]

Block[{BrowserCategory, Item, Delimiter},
 BrowserCategory[name_, _, contents_] := OpenerView[{name, Column[contents]}, True];
 Options[Item] = {CopyTag -> None};
 Item[name_, nb_, opt : OptionsPattern[]] :=      
   If[OptionValue[CopyTag] === None,
     Hyperlink[name, FileNameJoin[{base, nb}]],
     Hyperlink[name, {FileNameJoin[{base, nb}], OptionValue[CopyTag]}]

 Delimiter := Graphics[{Line[{{0, 0}, {1, 0}}]}, AspectRatio -> 1/20];

 Get@FileNameJoin[{base, "BrowserCategories.m"}]

enter image description here

  • Navigating tutorials tree was way more easier earlier, but I started using mma after that change was made. It took me 2 releases to notice they have such structure. And in V11 WRI even removed top docked cell which was giving tips like: 'Virtual Book > Dynamic Interactivity > Dynamic and DynamicModule > Advanced Dynamic Functionality' – Kuba Apr 11 '17 at 11:26
  • @Kuba Yes, and they removed all Tutorial links from Guide Pages (and Tutorial links from the top of other pages). Now a lot of structure is lost, and it is hard to get around with search only. – Szabolcs Apr 11 '17 at 11:28
  • Search engine is ridiculous, try "The Main Loop", it fails even though there is a tutorial with the exact name... 'main loop' will show it :) – Kuba Apr 11 '17 at 11:30
  • 1
    @Kuba Yes, using "stop words" such as "the", "in", "is", etc. in search used to prevent showing useful results containing these very words. I reported this a while ago. I am happy to see that the issue is fixed in 11.2 (with the new doc search system). – Szabolcs Sep 29 '17 at 12:32

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