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10 New User Interfaces I would like to see in future Mathematica versions

Posted 10 years ago
Inspired by the popularity of the question "New Functions I would like to see in future Wolfram Language versions", I would like to propose a similar one, but oriented into Mathematica user interface.
Here are some user interfaces that I would like to see in the future:
  1. Use tab to indent selected text code inside cell. So I could select some piece of text and press TAB or SHIFT+TAB to indent to right and left.
  2. Open the same notebook in more than one window. So I could see different parts of the same notebook in different windows.
  3. Left click in function to go to definition (like WorkBench).
  4. Some option to come back to last position when using item 3. So I could go into definition, and come back to my last point.
  5. Tabs interface, like all modern Browsers. So I could have better navigation over multiple notebooks or packages.
  6. Some shortcut like CTRL+Clik option to open help links in new new tab of item 5, so I could navigate easily over documentation.
  7. Some key combination similar to Command + Shift + Enter, but to evaluate the selectec text in a new cell, just like Shift+Enter. (I have a lot of use for it!)
  8. Regular Expression option in Search Box.
  9. Native Keyboard shortcut to Quit the kernel (I changed  CTRL+Q hacking KeyEventTranslations, but it could be standard).
  10. A decent debugger! The new Wolfram language deserver it!
PS: Please, don't suggest me to go into WorkBench, I really don't like it.
  1. No code auto completion!
  2. Not free for Mathematica regular user.
  3. Old Eclipse
  4. Ugly interface
I love notebbok interface, in my opinion WB is a steep back for who started to use Mathematica in a Notebbok like me.
If it's going to survive, at least Wolfram Team could incorporate some of Halirutan IntelliJ Plugin ideas on it, and make it free for who is Mathematica user, with no premier service.
POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
12 Replies
Posted 10 years ago

2.Open the same notebook in more than one window. So I could see different parts of the same notebook in different windows

Using version 10, I can launch two independent sessions of Mathematica and open the same file in both. Trying to launch a 3rd session, however, prompts for a license key.

POSTED BY: Ted Cook
Posted 10 years ago
I am a long time user of Mathematica, and I like your suggestion list. I have repeatedly suggested to my contacxts at Wiolfram that they look at the current Xcode editor (or the entire IDE) for ideas on how a modern code editor should function. Workbench is functional, but outdated, and Wolfram Language deserves better.

Even something as simple as your second suggestion would make editing large files much easier. I often make a copy of a notebook and open one to cut and paste into the other to avoid endless scrolling up and down.

A decent debugger should be a high priority. 

george
POSTED BY: Updating Name
George could you please reply with your full name you use on Community so we can fix "Updating Name" issue in this post? Thans.
POSTED BY: Moderation Team
Command Completion in the Documentation Browser

It always puzzled me why there isn't command completion in the help browser.  In otherwords, as I type into the "search box", command completion would behave just as it does in an Input cell.
POSTED BY: W. Craig Carter
Simple Text Editor and svg drawing tools.

I would use these UIs.
  1. A way to open a text editor buffer (e.g., vim) on an input cell and then replace the input cell contents with the edited buffer.
  2. A feature rich svg drawiing interface (e.g., inkscape) as an alternative to DrawingTools.
POSTED BY: W. Craig Carter
Posted 10 years ago
Some functionality alread exists. Regarding #6, you can open new Help doc windows with the sequence Shift-F1 (works on MS Windows OS, not sure about MAC OS). Also for hyperlinks, you can right click and select Open in New Window. Regarding Workbench, it allows code key word autocompletion with the sequence Ctrl-k (again, works on MS Windows, not sure about MAC OS). You do have to use the correct case for key words, like
Rand...
not
rand...

I'm not a big fan of Workbench/Eclipse either, but I finally began learning how to use it (especially the debugger). In general, I would like to see the development process made more streamlined and user friendly. I definitely would include a tabbed interface and side-by-side windows.
POSTED BY: David G
Hi@David, tks for the tips. Regarding 6#, it do not work on Mathematica 9 for MAC. And Regarding autocomplete in WB, I was refering something like Mathematica 9, with no CTLR+K.
POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
One more suggestion.
When using Block, With or Module, nom used variables could be coloered as red.
I agree with @Szabolcs, notebook interface should be always clean. Maybe some suggestions could be restricted to Mathematica Package window, that is already distinct from NB files window.
POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
There have been many suggestions for UI additions over the years, including toolbars, sidebars, buttons, context menus for interactive equations (like Maple), etc.   

While adding some things might be useful, keeping the UI clean and tidy is also very important.  The notebook concept worked out extremely well, and when doing interactive scientific work it's far superior to the traditional command line (which many other systems are still stuck with).

So just two comments:
  • Whatever gets added, for me it's important to be able to have clean and plain notebooks with no extra clutter, buttons or sidebar elements, as we have right now.  (I even turned off the suggestions bar.  While it seemed like a very good idea at first, I ended up using it very little, so the occasional bug it still causes became a bigger disadvantage than the minor convenience it gave me.  I still recommend it to beginners though.)
  • I do not think that the notebook concept implemented by the front end can work equally well both for day-to-day interactive work and for package development.  The two should be separated, and package development should be done in a separate, plain-text-only IDE such as the Workbench (e.g. version control requires plain text).  The notebook interface should be developed with interactive work in mind, as that's what it does best.  (The Workbench not being free is a different topic and it doesn't mean that the Front End should try to do the Workbench's job---maybe the Workbench should just come together with Mathematica.)
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvát
  •  tabular object, like MS Excel (including dynamic objects inside cells, that is, functions, instead of just data), and easily persistent between sessions. This IS the fastest interface "programming" language: your data is interface, your algorithms are interface, etc... and, just to say the whole truth, your mess is also interface.
  • drag and drop space object (for instance, to build interfaces like system modeler, networks, etc), with snapping capabilities, and everything that can be gain from the graph functionality, and all other dynamic capabilities.
  • better 3D graphics manipulation (for instance, with drag and drop displaceable pivot point)
  • everything faster, specially whenever there are dynamic objects or raster images involved
  • official power tools for:
  1. listing and managing session "variables", checking memory usage, clearing then, renaming, saving specific ones into a file, cloud or making persistent into the notebook, etc
  2. suggesting improvements to the user code
  • pass the suggestion bar arrow (predictive), from the right side of the cells into the tab line beneath the cells, where there's already the (+) icon. And then, create the possibility of adding user defined tabs next to them. For the predictive arrow button, three "positions" would be possible, disabled, active but not visible, and visible, which means that there would be no need to deactivate it in the general preferences, giving more visibility to the user that has just unplugged it long time ago.
  • an embedding type of cell (HTML and/or other)
POSTED BY: Pedro Fonseca
It's just a slide show interface. Not usefull for group and ungroup different notebook files on the fly.
POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
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