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V3.0: Manifest Destiny

Theodore W. Gray
Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.
URL: http://www.theodoregray.com
Journal / Anthology

Mathematica in Education and Research
Year: 1996
Volume: 5
Issue: 3
Page range: 10-15

cells; formatting and styles; file format; cross platform compatibility; integration with the kernel; cross platform code sharing; menus

The Mathematica front end has undergone many changes over its 9-year life. In this article we will see how some of the features present in V3.0 developed and changed over time. The original vision of the front end was to provide a document interface to the Mathematica kernel. I decided very early that we would create an environment in which you could not only interact with the kernel, but at the same time create a permanent, editable record of what you did. This would overcome the biggest drawback to using a UNIX terminal interface, which was that when you were done, you had nothing you could easily refer to in the future, or pass on to colleagues. Since at the time the kernel used only plain ASCII text for input and output, the interface would necessarily concentrate on text. I ruled out a 2-D drawing type interface (like MathCad) on the grounds that extensive editing of large documents is nearly impossible: Inserting new material in the middle of such a document is impractical. So, we arrived an an interface that was basically similar to a word processor: A vertically scrolling document in which you could enter text at will.

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FrontHistory.nb (51.5 KB) - Mathematica Notebook